HIALEAH, FLA. – Today, Governor Rick Scott sent the below letter to President Obama calling on his administration to immediately provide items to prepare for the possible spread of the Zika virus. The letter addresses the failure of Congress to take immediate action to approve funding by the start of Hurricane Season, June 1, and before Zika transitions to a mosquito-borne illness in the United States.

Governor Rick Scott said, “The fact that Congress has not taken immediate action to protect our nation from Zika before hurricane season began and we have entered the heart of summer heat, heavy rainfall and a growing mosquito population, is profoundly disappointing. However, in order to best protect the 20 million people in Florida and our many visitors from the spread of Zika, I cannot waste any time on disappointment. Florida needs action from the federal government now.”

Governor Scott is asking President Obama to fulfill requests made by over 20 counties, cities and mosquito districts in Florida for mosquito prevention to combat the Zika virus, along with requests Governor Scott already detailed to Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia Burwell in May. Governor Scott is also requesting a detailed plan from the Obama Administration by June 15 on how they would like Florida to work with the Federal Emergency Management Agency on requesting emergency response funds once the Zika virus becomes mosquito-borne in Florida.

BELOW IS FULL TEXT OF THE LETTER.  CLICK HERE TO SEE A PDF VERSION.

June 1, 2016

The Honorable Barack Obama

President of the United States
The White House

1600 Pennsylvania Ave NW

Washington, DC  20500

Dear Mr. President:

Today, is June 1st, the beginning of hurricane season. Just as feared, our country has entered hurricane season without the funding needed to immediately combat the Zika virus when it transitions to a mosquito-borne illness in the United States. As stated last week by Senator Marco Rubio, the Centers for Disease Control has predicted that we are less than a month away from a mosquito epidemic. Yet, despite repeated calls for action, Congress has failed to act and they are now on vacation.

The fact that Congress has not taken immediate action to protect our nation from Zika before hurricane season began and we have entered the heart of summer heat, heavy rainfall and a growing mosquito population, is profoundly disappointing. However, in order to best protect the 20 million people in Florida and our many visitors from the spread of Zika, I cannot waste any time on disappointment.  Florida needs action from the federal government now. Below is a list of preparedness items we are calling on you and your administration to immediately provide to our state. Some of these items I have already detailed in my May 12th meeting with Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia Burwell, but have yet to be fulfilled.

  • 5,000 Zika preparedness kits to our Department of Health (Requested in 5/12 meeting)
  • Resources to enhance mosquito surveillance (Requested in 5/12 meeting)
  • Resources to enhance mosquito abatement (Requested in 5/12 meeting)
  • Resources to increase training for mosquito control technicians (Requested in 5/12 meeting)
  • Resources to increase mosquito laboratory capacity (Requested in 5/12 meeting)

The following outlines specific requests made by counties, cities and mosquito districts in our state for mosquito prevention to combat the Zika virus, which is an issue every state is going to battle.

  • Resources to hire additional personnel: Anastasia Mosquito Control District (St. Johns County), Bay County Mosquito Control, Beach Mosquito Control District in Panama City, Broward County Mosquito Control,  Clay County Mosquito Control, The Florida Keys Mosquito Control District, The City of Gainesville, Gilchrist County, Gulf County Mosquito Control, Highlands County, Hillsborough County Mosquito Control, Lake County, Leon County Mosquito Control, Martin County Mosquito Control, The City of Miami, Orange County Mosquito Control, Osceola County Mosquito Control, Pasco County Mosquito Control, Polk County Mosquito Control, Seminole County Mosquito Control, Taylor County Mosquito Control, East Volusia Mosquito Control District, and North Walton Mosquito Control District.
  • Insecticides to combat mosquitos: Anastasia Mosquito Control District (St. Johns County), Beach Mosquito Control District in Panama City, Broward County Mosquito Control, Clay County Mosquito Control, Collier County Mosquito Control, The Florida Keys Mosquito Control District, The City of Gainesville, Gilchrist County, Gulf County Mosquito Control, Highlands County, Hillsborough County Mosquito Control, Jacksonville Mosquito Control, Lake County, Lee County Mosquito Control, Leon County Mosquito Control, Martin County Mosquito Control, The City of Miami, Osceola County Mosquito Control, Pasco County Mosquito Control, Polk County Mosquito Control, Seminole County Mosquito Control, Taylor County Mosquito Control, East Volusia Mosquito Control District, and North Walton Mosquito Control District.
  • Resources to enhance community outreach: Anastasia Mosquito Control District (St. Johns County), Hardee County, Hernando County, Leon County Mosquito Control, and Pasco County Mosquito Control.
  • Mosquito spraying equipment: Bay County Mosquito Control, Beach Mosquito Control District in Panama City, Broward County Mosquito Control, Clay County Mosquito Control, The Florida Keys Mosquito Control District, The City of Gainesville, Gilchrist County, Gulf County Mosquito Control, Hillsborough County Mosquito Control, Jacksonville Mosquito Control, Lake County, Lee County Mosquito Control, Leon County Mosquito Control, Martin County Mosquito Control, Orange County Mosquito Control, Osceola County Mosquito Control, Pasco County Mosquito Control, Seminole County Mosquito Control, Taylor County Mosquito Control, and North Walton Mosquito Control District.
  • Mosquito traps: Anastasia Mosquito Control District (St. Johns County), Bay County Mosquito Control, Broward County Mosquito Control, Clay County Mosquito Control, The City of Gainesville, Gilchrist County, The Florida Keys Mosquito Control District, Hardee County, Highlands County, Jacksonville Mosquito Control, Leon County Mosquito Control, Martin County Mosquito Control, Orange County Mosquito Control, Osceola County Mosquito Control, Pasco County Mosquito Control, Polk County Mosquito Control, Sarasota County Mosquito Control, Seminole County Mosquito Control, Taylor County Mosquito Control and North Walton Mosquito Control District.
  • Personal protection equipment: Lake County Mosquito Control District, Seminole County Mosquito Control, and Taylor County Mosquito Control.

I want to thank our Commissioner of Agriculture and Consumer Services Adam Putnam, who has helped us identify the resources above that we need you and your administration to immediately provide to our state.

We are also requesting a detailed plan from your administration by June 15, 2016 on how you would like us to work with the Federal Emergency Management Agency on requesting emergency response funds once the Zika virus becomes mosquito-borne in our state and we are in need of resources to respond to an outbreak.

Your prompt attention to the items above is even more important now that we know Congress will not authorize any federal funding during their vacation time over the next two weeks. Without Congressional action, which I requested during my visit to Washington last month in meetings with US House and US Senate leadership, Florida needs your federal agencies to meet our needs quickly.

There is no doubt that we fall further and further behind fighting the spread of this virus with every day that passes and we are not fully prepared. In Florida, we learned that the best way to protect our people during a hurricane is to have a good game plan before the storm comes. With the Zika virus, the storm is predicted by the CDC to be just around the corner, and we need federal action now to keep our citizens safe and healthy through what would no doubt be a disaster if this virus becomes mosquito-borne in our state.

Thank you for your immediate attention to these items above, which are vital to the health and safety of Americans.

Sincerely,

 

Rick Scott
Governor

cc:       Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives Paul Ryan
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell
Commissioner of Agriculture and Consumer Services Adam Putnam

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