Last week, U.S. Rep. Kathy Castor, D-Fla., looked back on what her office accomplished in 2020.
The congresswoman’s office noted Castor “worked to deliver $1.4 million to veterans, seniors, small businesses and families in 2020; almost $1.5 billion in federal grants to create jobs, invest in education and infrastructure, mitigate impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, and support the important work of local partners; and $2.7 billion in Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans for Tampa businesses.”
“Every day, my Tampa constituent services team, Tery Sanchez, Steven Angotti, Tania Fernandez and Damaris Gonzalez – with the help of the entire Castor Team – work tirelessly to cut through red tape and bureaucracy on behalf of families and neighbors across the Tampa area. During the COVID-19 pandemic, their expertise has been critical to ensuring that veterans receive the benefits they have earned and to guarantee that survival stimulus payments, Social Security, Medicare are delivered on time. Due to the unprecedented challenge accessing Florida’s flawed unemployment system, I am especially grateful for their efforts in coordinating with local and state representatives to ensure that everyone who needs support is connected to every available resource,” Castor said.
“My team tackles complex cases and works diligently with agencies and non-profit partners to serve all of our neighbors. This year we handled more than 1,800 individual cases and recovered $1.4 million in federal benefits. Tampa families are facing unique and time-sensitive issues due to the coronavirus, and my team’s top priority remains serving our neighbors with respect and care,” Castor added.
The congresswoman noted that her district received 727 grants totaling $1,497,650,722.
“2020 brought unprecedented challenges to our community as workers in vital industries such as tourism, travel and hospitality took a hit from the virus and our frontline medical workers worked overtime to serve those who contracted COVID-19. The $1.5 billion in grant monies that came to Tampa this year have been a lifeline for our hospitals, small businesses, schools, renters and more. Federal aid has a been a major shot in the arm to our local economic engines and will serve to bolster businesses and services that we all count on through tough times and also boost good-paying jobs in our region as we work towards a strong economic recovery,” Castor said.
“Through passage of the CARES Act, which dedicated $150 billion to the Local Government Coronavirus Relief Fund, Hillsborough County received $257 million in federal aid. I worked alongside county commissioners and the county administrator while they developed the plan to ensure that the emergency aid was consistent with the needs our neighbors and the Congressional intent for use of these funds,” she continued.
“Much needed resources went to over 6,000 local businesses, rental assistance for over 5,500 Hillsborough families, workforce training, public health support for contact tracing, $30M to the City of Tampa, and funds to support the Crisis Center of Tampa Bay, Feeding Tampa Bay, Metropolitan Ministries and other local organizations directly helping so many of our neighbors in need. With the passage of a fifth coronavirus aid package, I will continue to partner with our local frontline agencies as we work towards rebuilding a local economy that leaves nobody behind and also prioritizes the health and wellbeing of our neighbors,” Castor added.
Castor also said that the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) helped keep small businesses in the area afloat.
“Established by the CARES Act, the Paycheck Protection Program has provided over 19,000 loans in our district totaling up to $2.7 billion. Of which, 16,681 were to the truly small businesses that received loans of less than $150,000 totaling $497,969,977. PPP has been a lifeline to workers in our community during the pandemic through speeding emergency resources to small businesses in Tampa Bay to keep them afloat during the pandemic, and keep employees paid and connected to health care coverage,” Castor said.
First elected to Congress in 2006, Castor is one of the top Democrats on the U.S. House Energy and Commerce Committee which oversees health policy among other things. Castor represents parts of Hillsborough County in a secure Democratic district. Back in November, Castor easily handled Christine Quinn, taking more than 60 percent of the vote.
Last month, U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., announced that Castor is staying on as the chairwoman of the Select Committee on the Climate Crisis.
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