John Kerry on Hurricane Katrina Relief Efforts: “We Share a Collective Anguish and Frustration Over the Inadequate Response of the Federal Government”

John Kerry has been in Iraq for the past week (see below) on a follow up from his January visit. I was told by a contact in his office that he “wanted to go again to thank our troops for their service, talk with military commanders about the situation on the ground and meet with Iraqi government officials as they work to establish a democracy in Iraq.”

Upon returning to the U.S., John Kerry released the following statement today on Hurricane Katrina relief efforts:

“Our thoughts and prayers go out to all the citizens of Louisiana, Mississippi, and Alabama as they struggle with the aftermath of this devastating storm, and to their loved ones and families viewing the disturbing photos coming out of the region. I also would like to commend the brave men and women who are leading the rescue operations; from emergency service officers to health care professionals to the power and water crews working around the clock to save lives.

“Hurricane Katrina devastated significant portions of the Gulf Coast and disrupted millions of lives. The situation in New Orleans is heartbreaking.

We cannot and must not give up on the people left stranded and destitute by this storm. This is a national tragedy and it demands a national response. At home in Massachusetts, citizens and corporations are donating time, money and their expertise to help out and I know the same thing is happening in every state in the country.

“Now is the time for all of us to come together to help our fellow Americans rebuild the communities that have lost so much.

“Elected officials, emergency personnel and incredible volunteers are working round the clock. These emergency workers are heroes.

While Americans are united and determined to help the people who are suffering, there is no question that we share a collective anguish and frustration over the inadequate response of the federal government over these past several days. Federal officials must act swiftly in coming hours and days to direct more aid to the region as rapidly as possible.

“Last night the Senate allocated $10.5 billion to help fund immediate relief efforts. Although that is a welcome first step, I plan to work in coming days to find more ways that we can help joining with my colleagues in the Senate to support those who have lost so much and those working so hard to help them.

“I am also directing my team at and my leadership committee Keeping America’s Promise to help. This week we have sent out fundraising appeals for the Red Cross and teamed up to help victims find housing at The response has been incredibly heartening. We will be doing more in coming days as we learn more about the best to provide assistance.

I just returned from spending the week in Iraq, seeing firsthand the bravery of our troops as they face chaos and destruction. Our country has a huge heart and an incredibly strong spirit. We came together to support of our troops in Iraq and Afghanistan and their families, now we will come together to help the victims of Hurricane Katrina. We will endure and we will survive but we can’t stop working until we get help to all those left suffering. For more information on how to help, visit FEMA’s website at or visit the American Red Cross at Thank you for your support for the victims of Hurricane Katrina.”

Letter from John Kerry requesting that the SBA extend the Disaster Loan Deadline for Victims of Hurricane Katrina

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8 Responses to John Kerry on Hurricane Katrina Relief Efforts: “We Share a Collective Anguish and Frustration Over the Inadequate Response of the Federal Government”

  1. BlueWashington says:


    I’ve tossed out a couple of rants as of late – I’d like to see JK rip a good 5 minute rant.

  2. Teresa says:


    I’m humbled.

    I don’t want JK to rip anything.

  3. Ginny in CO says:


    I betcha he has – just not with a mic on:)

    In reading that, I am again aware that while some people see him as spineless, he strikes me as sensitive and sensible. Now is not the time to get really angry. Urging the Federal responders to move faster is good.

    I have been listening to Xian fundies knocking the people who didn’t evacuate and ranting about their reactions and gun shots. Still a lot of waking up to do. If the conservative reporters down there start covering the reality ( and Geraldo gets into ballistic mode), they will convince more of the Values voters than any one else that something is seriously missing from this picture: effort. Intelligent effort. Foresight AND action.

    This will be harder to ignore than the war that we can’t end

  4. “This will be harder to ignore than the war that we can’t end”


    That’s it right there. I was very impressed with Dateline tonight and what I watched of 60 Minutes. I would love to see Geraldo pick himself back out of the gutter and tell the truth.

  5. Teresa says:

    I was at the democratic Party HQ tonight in the lower downtown arts’ district and it was jumping! Great pins they had for sale($1).. Lot’s of excitement.

    I believe Kerry is the current leader of the Dems in this country and that they will follow his example of dignified behavior…all around decorum. People will want this. They know we have to straighten up and act right. We will have to create a responsible government.

  6. Teresa

    Decorum and dignity is good… far better than smirking and the rants of some… off to sleep, news overload.

  7. kj says:

    Ginny, I love it… “Intelligent effort.” I’ll take that over Intelligent Design any day.

    Yes, Kerry’s statement is dignified, as he is. But, I’ll give (at least CNN, since that’s the only channel I watched) big time credit for waking up. As long as I know the Fourth Estate is alive and well, I won’t feel like I need to yell as loud as possible just to try and make some sort of voice heard. NOT that I’m giving anyone a pass, I’m just saying, after reading David Brooks piece below, it is possible that there IS, as Pamela said, a collective awakening going on.

    I hesitate to say this publically, because of how callus is it going to seem, but… what, third time’s a charm? 9/11, the War in Iraq, now the destruction of the Gulf Coast. Is that how much death and destruction it’s taken for some of our countrypeople to wake up?

  8. Nick says:

    Excellent John.

    Dignified, straightforward and to the point, informative on how we can help. It was critical of the federal response without sounding like he was trying to score cheap political points. Thanks for letting me know he was in Iraq with our troops. At least we know now why he didn’t give an immediate critical response to the poor federal response. He was in Iraq.
    So where was Kerry when the Hurricane crisis hit? Answer: Trying to solve the Iraq crisis while directing his people to get involved with the rescue of folks in the South. Where were Condi and Dubya while BOTH crises raged? On vacation in NY and Texas respectively.
    Makes you wonder who can really handle a crisis, doesn’t it? Given these contrasts “values voters”, I wonder: Who do you think “shares your values” now?