TRENTON, NJ - Except for Sundays, Governor Phil Murphy regularly holds press conferences to advise New Jersey residents on state issues regarding the coronavirus crisis. At yesterday's update, Congressman Andy Kim joined the dais on behalf of New Jersey's delegation in Washington, DC.
While the federal government has set up two FEMA partnered testing drive-thrus, none are in the southern part of the state. During his opening remarks, Murphy thanked the bipartisan efforts of three of the state's house representatives.
"I must give Congressman Andy Kim and his colleagues, including others by name, Congressman Donald Payne, Congressman Chris Smith, a huge shout out for their help in ensuring that we continue to have FEMA's partnership in operating these sites," said Murphy.
During his remarks, Kim acknowledged the need for a third federally backed testing site in South Jersey. "We need it right now, especially at a time where we're seeing the numbers continue to climb exponentially, " said Kim. "I've stood alongside my colleagues to call for this third testing site and been joined by every single member in this bipartisan delegation, and I'll continue to call for this site until we get it. And even then I will continue to push for every single federal dollar we can get to support New Jersey through this crisis."
According to Kim, the full New Jersey congressional delegation submitted a letter request for the additional FEMA site on March 27th. The bipartisan efforts have seemingly gone ignored as there has been no response.
Kim shared his experience with going into self-quarantine after he was exposed to the virus. His COVID-19 test came back negative. He and his office continue to receive calls about people concerned about their own health and those of family members. A number of other constituents share their worries about making it without money,
"Even before this crisis, I've pointed out that we live in a time when 40% of Americans couldn't handle a $400 emergency," Kim shared. "I have personally repeated that statistic thousands of times to highlight the fragility that so many Americans live in, and I had heard those stories specifically in Burlington County and Ocean County. Now we see that fragile reality put to a test, the greatest test that we have faced with regards to everyone in this country facing it together."
As a the only member of Congress on the Small Business Committee, Kim said he continues to address ways to help New Jerseyans who are struggling to make ends meet. "I've been pushing the SBA and Treasury to get the guidance out as soon as possible in a coordinated way, rather than the piecemeal way that we've seen so far, to be able to make sure this support gets to our small business owners immediately," said Kim.
Congressman Andy Kim represents the third congressional district. His constituency includes residents of Barnegat, Waretown, and parts of Stafford.