neal dunn

With an easy election ahead of him, U.S. Rep. Neal Dunn, R-Fla., can continue to focus on his top concern on Capitol Hill: helping the Panhandle and Big Bend recover from Hurricane Michael.

Dunn announced this week that the U.S. Labor Department is sending a $3,333,334 Disaster Recovery National Dislocated Worker Grant to the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity (DEO). The funds will be used to help “temporarily expand the service capacity of dislocated worker training and employment programs at the state and local levels by providing funding assistance in response to large, unexpected economic events that cause significant job losses” with Dunn’s office insisting the grant “will prevent hundreds of residents from being laid off.”

Dunn weighed in on the funds on Wednesday.

“I am thrilled that the Department of Labor has released these funds. Our district has been through so much between recovering from Hurricane Michael and facing stay-at-home orders during the COVID-19 outbreak, and this will be a much-needed boost to continue our recovery efforts,” said Dunn. “As we continue to rebuild, I remain committed to keeping my constituents employed and our economy stable.”

“We are grateful for the additional funds awarded for Hurricane Michael recovery. We have 216 workers funded through this grant in three counties and our partners need these workers to continue with this massive recovery effort.  We still have a long way to go, but these funds will help us move forward,” said Kimberly Bodine, the executive director of CareerSource Gulf Coast.

“This funding is tremendously important for our community,” Bay County Commission Chairman Philip “Griff” Griffitts said. “Not only will it help continue our efforts to rebuild what Hurricane Michael damaged, but it will also help keep people employed during these difficult and unprecedented times. We are very grateful for the continued support of our federal and state governments.”

Dunn has an easy November ahead of him as he faces only two write-in candidates in the general election. Of course, Dunn’s district is solidly Republican.

In his three and a half years on Capitol Hill, Dunn hasn’t exactly made headlines and his assignments on the U.S. House Agriculture and Veterans Affairs Committees do not lend themselves to achieving a high profile. They also aren’t exactly the best perches to bring funds to the area which continues to recover from Hurricane Michael. However, to his credit, Dunn has shown the ability to work with other members of the Florida delegation to secure funds to help the region recover, including with U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., who sits on the U.S. Senate Appropriations Committee, and with U.S. Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, D-Fla., the chairwoman of the U.S. House Military Construction, Veterans Affairs, and Related Agencies Appropriations Subcommittee. 

After taking 67 percent last time out in a great election cycle for Democrats, Dunn was never considered in jeopardy as he runs for a third term this year. Now that his path to a third term is all but assured, Dunn can continue to focus on helping Northwest Florida recover from Hurricane Michael.


Kevin Derby wrote this analysis. He can be reached at


Kevin Derby
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