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Vern Buchanan, Francis Rooney

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Vern Buchanan, Francis Rooney announce funding for pandemic, policing

$350,000 will go to Manatee, $500,000 to Cape Coral.

Reps. Vern Buchanan and Francis Rooney announced substantial federal grants coming to Southwest Florida. Money will address two issues dominating discourse in the nation: police training and pandemic response.

Buchanan, a Sarasota Republican, announced $350,000 will come to the Manatee County area to deal with coronavirus response.

Manatee County Government and the Manatee Sheriff’s Office “have received a $350,000 federal coronavirus grant for personal protective equipment and other critical supplies,” Buchanan tweeted. “This funding will go a long way to help combat the spread of COVID-19 in Manatee County.”

That money comes as Buchanan calls on more precise targeting of senior living communities in a letter to U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar.

“The coronavirus has taken a heavy toll on Florida’s senior citizens,” Buchanan said. “Our highest priority right now has to be protecting our most vulnerable population — including those living in senior living communities. These communities are on the front lines of the coronavirus pandemic and need the resources to keep their residents safe.”

Within Florida, half of COVID-19 deaths are tied to long-term care facilities. The state has 701 nursing homes, including multiple Manatee County facilities that have suffered outbreaks.

About 83% of deaths in Florida have been individuals age 65 and older. But that’s not a tremendous comfort in Florida’s 16th Congressional District, where 226,000 seniors live.

As for Rooney, his office announced a $500,000 grant will come to Cape Coral in Florida’s 19th Congressional District. That funding from the Department of Justice will allow for the hiring and training of additional police in the city.

“As we navigate through these uncertain times, providing our local police forces with the resources they need will allow for a greater sense of security and community moving forward,” Rooney said. “Cape Coral has consistently been ranked one of the safest cities in America with populations of over 100,000. This grant will help ensure that safety continues.”

Rooney voiced support for police in the community.

“Our way of life would not be possible if not for the bravery and courage of American law enforcement. Southwest Florida’s police officers work tirelessly to ensure the safety of our families and citizens. I am thankful for all that they do for us.”

Letter to HHS Secretary by Jacob Ogles on Scribd

Written By

Jacob Ogles has covered politics in Florida since 2000 for regional outlets including SRQ Magazine in Sarasota, The News-Press in Fort Myers and The Daily Commercial in Leesburg. His work has appeared nationally in The Advocate, Wired and other publications. Events like SRQ’s Where The Votes Are workshops made Ogles one of Southwest Florida’s most respected political analysts, and outlets like WWSB ABC 7 and WSRQ Sarasota have featured his insights. He can be reached at jacobogles@hotmail.com.

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