Jared Moskowitz, head of the state’s Division of Emergency Management, said he’s working to “fix” issues with disaster relief funding in a speech to local officials Wednesday morning.
Moskowitz joined several of his state cohorts in talking to members of the Florida Association of Counties at Tallahassee’s Challenger Learning Center.
He began by recounting his own time in local government, serving on the Parkland City Commission. Moskowitz called the experience a “good lesson” prior to him entering the state Legislature as the representative from House District 97.
“It was also a realization when I got to the Legislature how few people, both in the House and in the Senate, came from local government,” Moskowitz said.
“People come up to Tallahassee with these grandiose ideas. But never serving in local government, they think they know how it impacts us. But they don’t, they don’t have any clue. It’s something they just made up, it’s some interpretation, it’s some thought process. But it’s theory, that’s all it is.”
Moskowitz left his post in the House to take the job in the Ron DeSantis administration.
“Many people ask me, did I want to become the Emergency Management Director? And I say, “Well, if that was the case, boy did I do it the wrong way because I supported the other guy.”
While Moskowitz backed DeSantis’ opponent in the Governor’s race, Andrew Gillum, he was selected by DeSantis to lead the agency back in December. Moskowitz said the Parkland shooting impacted his decision to take on the position.
“I realized it was time to serve not just my constituents in District 97, not just residents in Broward County, but folks around the state of Florida,” Moskowitz said.
“I knew that folks right after Hurricane Michael were suffering and they needed help. And I knew this department could help them. So it was that experience of what Parkland had gone through and the ability to help more people, which is why I took this opportunity. And I am so grateful to the Governor for allowing me to serve.”
Moskowitz referenced efforts by DeSantis to secure a longer window during which FEMA will fully fund debris removal and other emergency measures in the aftermath of a storm. He says he’s working to expedite the disbursement process so that communities aren’t stuck waiting around from money to help them rebuild.
“I know that many of you had to go take out loans or you had to deplete reserves in some of the smaller counties,” Moskowitz said.
“I know you have cities in your counties that have done the same thing, financing that while they’re waiting to get money either from FEMA or the Division. I’m aware of that. We’re fixing it.”