Santa Clarita’s Sacramento representatives respond to Trump’s FEMA funding comment

SIGNAL FILE PHOTO: Firefighters fight the Rye Fire as flames encroach upon Travel Village in Valencia on Tuesday, Dec. 5, 2017. Nikolas Samuels/The Signal

The Sacramento legislators who represent the Santa Clarita Valley issued statements regarding President Donald Trump’s comment about Federal Emergency Management Agency aid for areas struck by natural disasters in California.

“Billions of dollars are sent to the state of California for forest fires that, with proper forest management, would never happen. Unless they get their act together, which is unlikely, I have ordered FEMA to send no more money. It is a disgraceful situation in lives (and) money,” Trump said in a tweet Wednesday morning.

In response, Assembly members Christy Smith, D-Santa Clarita, Tom Lackey, R-Palmdale, and State Sen. Henry Stern, D-Canoga Park, joined in with other Sacramento leaders and representatives to issue statements in response to the president’s comment.

Smith, who sits as the chairwoman on the Joint Legislative Committee on Emergency Management, said it was disappointing that the state of California had to speculate as to whether residents could count on federal aid in the wake of a natural disaster.

She joined in with Stern, as well as a handful of other legislators whose districts were affected by the Woolsey Fire, to issue a joint statement Wednesday.

“It is unacceptable to use victims of the fires in California as a bargaining chip in the negotiations to get the federal government working again,” the joint statement read. “As we move forward, we urge the federal government to recognize this crisis and work alongside our state as we fight for climate justice in California and across the nation.”

Lackey, whose district has worked with FEMA in the past to address the needs of first responders and residents’ natural disaster preparedness, voiced his concerns by issuing a statement Wednesday through his Twitter account.

“This is an extremely sensitive topic because it involves lives. These type of tweets strike unnecessary fear,” Lackey said. “(The 36th Assembly District) expects better.”

The office of state Sen. Scott Wilk, R-Santa Clarita, declined comment on Wednesday.

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