Ted Poe received a standing ovation as he gave his last few words.
The seven-term congressman made one of his final public speeches at the Focus on Federal Government luncheon at the Walden Country Club on Tuesday as he prepares for retirement.
The former judge spoke to the crowd of local politicians and business leaders about what is currently going on in Washington D.C. and how they will help fund flood prevention projects in the area.
“Harvey is foremost on all of our minds. Congress actually did some policy exchange regarding Harvey that didn’t wait and appropriated three bills,” Poe said. “The last bill was $89 billion, that’s just a number, but that is the most Congress has ever appropriated in any natural disaster in American history.”
According to the American Shore & Beach Preservation Association, Congress passed the $89 billion bill, also known as the Disaster Response Bill in February.
The Disaster Response Bill addresses 2017 hurricanes and wildfires. Poe said the $89 billion bill is not only for recovery but for preventative measures as well.
About $15 billion will be allocated for flood and storm damage reduction projects. Of this, $10.425 billion must be used for states affected by Hurricane Harvey, Irma and Maria.
About $135 million will also be allocated to the United States Army Corps of Engineers for investigations, including feasibility and regional studies. USACE must use $75 million for states affected by Hurricane Harvey, Irma and Maria.
“That money technically is appropriated by Congress and goes through the governor’s office (and) it’s managed by the (Texas General) Land Office and that’s how the money will be spent throughout Texas,” Poe said.
Poe suggested to build two additional reservoirs in the Lake Houston area.
“A long-term plan was first designed and thought of back in 1939,” Poe said. “The corps of engineers recommended in 1939 that there be a third reservoir. But World War II came around and it never got built. So maybe it’s time to build a third reservoir and a fourth reservoir, the fourth one to protect the Kingwood/Humble area, the third one to protect down there from the San Jacinto River.”
Another topic Poe brought up was tax breaks.
“Most Americans will see a $2,700 tax break that they will get back next year. Some will get more than that, some will get less, but the tax bill is good. It’s good for business and the economy is growing because of that tax legislation,” Poe said.
Poe said the federal government has brought in more revenue this year than ever.
Before officially retiring from Congress Poe plans on help those who are victims of sexual assault.
H.R. Bill 3415 known as the “Megan Rondini Act” was introduced to Congress in 2017.
The bill requires the Department of Health and Human Services to designate a hospital as a “SAFE-ready facility” with a sexual assault forensic examiner or a telemedicine system of such examiners.
Poe introduced this bill with Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney, D-New York.
Megan Rondini was a woman who was from Austin and attended the University of Alabama. She committed suicide a year after she was allegedly raped in 2015.
According to a previous article, Rondini contacted the police and went to the hospital after escaping her alleged rapist, but the hospital didn’t have a sexual assault forensic examiner and the DNA from her rape kit was never properly examined.
Poe said about 1 in 5 women who attend a university will be sexually assaulted.
The congressman concluded his speech to the crowd by remembering all the good times he’s had throughout this seven terms in Congress.
“We love the community, seeing it grow and (I’m) very proud to be your advocate, be your person in Washington D.C. I get to represent the best people on Earth right here in Harris County” Poe said.
Poe has been representing the second congressional district in Texas, which includes Humble, Kingwood and Atascocita, since 2004.
He has served as a criminal court judge in Harris County for 22 years and served 8 years in the Harris County District Attorney’s Office.
The congressman posted a tweet on Twitter on Nov.7 saying he will not seek re-election and is looking forward to spending more time with his family.