Texas Windstorm Reform Leader Runs For Corpus Christi City Council

| May 29, 2016 | 0 Comments

 

State Rep. Todd Hunter, left, Task Force Vice Chair Greg Smith, and former Corpus Christi CEO Foster Edwards remember stories from their work together on windstorm issues.

State Rep. Todd Hunter, left, Task Force Vice Chair Greg Smith, and former Corpus Christi CEO Foster Edwards remember stories from their work together on windstorm issues.

 A man who has served as vice-chair of the Coastal Windstorm Taskforce has signed up to run for Corpus Christi City Council in District 4.

Greg Smith, who made his announcement recently at two events in that district, is a small business owner and civic leader who in addition to working on windstorm issues has served as chair of the Nueces County Beach Management Advisory Committee and on issues as diverse as transportation and beach erosion.

“I’ve been working tirelessly for the past ten years to improve this city on windstorm on coastal beach issues, on tourism, on transportation and I want to take that up to the next level,” Smith said in his announcement. 

Smith said he traveled tens of thousands of miles up and down the coast working with other officials on the windstorm issue, an effort evidenced by the more than 100 people who attended his announcement, including several who had worked with him on windstorm issues such as State Rep. Todd Hunter, Port Commissioner Charlie Zahn who chaired the windstorm task force and former Corpus Christi Chamber of Commerce CEO and President Foster Edwards, whose group helped coordinated legislative efforts on windstorm reform.

The Coastal Windstorm Task Force was created in 2010 by Rep. Hunter and included members from all 14 Texas coastal counties. It’s primary purpose was to propose legislation to educate the public about windstorm insurance, find legislative solutions to windstorm insurance issues, including rising premiums, and discuss reforming or replacing the Texas Windstorm Insurance Association, which provides wind insurance to coastal residents when private insurers won’t.

When the task force was created Hunter said “We’re under attack. There is a belief in this state that if you live by the coast you’re going to be discriminated against.”

Zahn said the main difficulty with TWIA began when Hurricane Ike struck in 2008 and the agency couldn’t handle policy holders’ claims. The resulting insurance rate hikes discouraged potential home and business owners from moving to the coast and harmed the coastal economy.

And Edwards said specialized insurance that cost coastal residents more wile areas affected by other types of disasters like fires and tornados didn’t have to pay more was discrimination.

All three of those men were among those in attendance at Smith’s announcement, not in their official capacity, but as longtime friends and associates of Smith. That, some supporters say, is an indication of the value Smith could bring to the city council.

“It’s not just his tremendous experience on the windstorm issue,” said one supporter. “Greg knows our beaches, he knows tourism, he understands the complex budget issues facing the city, and he has an amazing ability to bring people of diverse backgrounds together to work for the betterment of our area.”

 

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