BARTLETT, Iowa — Julián Castro toured the flooded town of Bartlett in Fremont County on Monday.
Castro, a Democratic presidential candidate and former U.S. secretary of Housing and Urban Development, stopped in Omaha, Council Bluffs, Red Oak, Tabor and Bartlett during a two-day visit.
“Traveling throughout the state, visiting small communities, visiting with farmers, I’ve had sit-downs with farmers,” said Castro.
The Texas native was shown the damage caused by the floods in Fremont County. He had to drive over a make-shift gravel road, past miles of flooded farm fields to even reach Bartlett. Once there, the railroad tracks were blocked due to construction, so Castro, his staff, media and the hosts had to walk up over the railroad crossing under construction.
Castro met with Dave Richter, owner of J-Dog Salvage, a business which has been closed for four months.
“As soon as I can get electricity, I plan to open in a month or so,” said Richter. He was asked if people would return to Bartlett after this flood event. “Maybe a couple of people,” he said.
“We have to make sure, that Washington, D.C. is a strong partner with communities like Bartlett,” said Castro. “So that people can recover as soon as possible, and they’re able to rebuild their homes, rebuild their businesses, get on with their lives.”
Castro was asked about the role the Army Corps of Engineers should play in dealing with the flooding from the Missouri River.
“When I was Secretary of Housing, we did the National Disaster Resilience Competition that [was] investing a billion dollars in communities so they could recover from a natural disaster but do it in a way that was sustainable,” said Castro. “That’s the kind of thing that I would like to see the Army Corps of Engineers and HUD work together on.”
Castro left Iowa for Texas and is planning a return visit later in July.