President Obama may have because of Hurricane Irene, but that isn't going to be much comfort to Middlesex County homeowners whose residences experienced damage in the storm.
That's because neither Middlesex or Union counties are included in the list of afflicted counties in which property owners and businesses can apply for and get grants and low interest loans to repair the destruction wrought by the hurricane.
Rep. Leonard Lance (NJ-07) made a special appeal to the White House to add Middlesex and Union counties, as well as Hunterdon County - areas all within Lance's 7th congressional district - to the list of areas in the state who will qualify for individual relief.
“Over the past four days I have tirelessly toured my congressional district and personally seen first-hand the devastation inflicted upon so many towns in Hunterdon, Middlesex and Union counties," over the pass several days and said he saw "first-hand the devastation" inflicted on municipalities within the district.
"I have personally witnessed devastated communities, heard the pleas of individuals who have had their residences and businesses destroyed, talked with mayors and public safety officials who say responding and rebuilding is beyond they own abilities and resources. It is imperative that all 7th District counties receive this important federal designation," Lance said in a statement.
The mayors of Carteret, Rahway, and Perth Amboy all declared a state of emergency within their towns when the storm hit. There was no issuance of an by Woodbridge's mayor, John McCormac.
Town spokesman John Hagerty said that while Irene was a storm of "devastating destruction, Woodbridge emerged relatively unscathed."
"It's too early in the process. We are gathering damage assessments. We will submit what we need to submit to the county," Hagerty said.
During the storm, as many as 80 percent of Woodbridge residents experienced a . In some cases, the for days, which caused sump pumps to stop working and basements to be flooded. Other areas of the township which during normal storms resembled lakes after Irene cut her swath through Woodbridge.
Most of the township has had their , according to PSE&G reports.
As of now, Woodbridge is still "accessing the situation," Hagerty said about the township gathering storm damage information to report to county Office of Emergency Management officials. These reports build the case for a county receiving the disaster area designation and resultant FEMA help.
Lance's office has asked that FEMA officials move the area's affected municipalities "higher up on the radar" so they can be visited and assessed by the agency's representatives.
"It doesn't mean that these counties won't be added as disaster areas to the counties who already have that designation," said Lance's communication director Angie Lundberg. "We've asked them to expedite their review."
Counties that have received disaster area status are Bergen, Essex, Morris, Passaic, and Somerset counties. That, Lundberg said, makes them eligible for a variety of federal grants and loans to cover uninsured losses.