The following is a transcript of an interview with Mayor Kevin Anderson of Fort Myers, Florida that aired on Sunday, October 2, 2022.
MARGARET BRENNAN: We’ll turn now to Kevin Anderson, the mayor of Fort Myers, Florida. Sir. mayor, the county you’re in was hit very hard. And we know county residents weren’t told to evacuate until Tuesday morning, a day after neighboring counties. Do you think that was enough warning for your residents?
MAYOR KEVIN ANDERSON: Well, you know, Margaret warnings for hurricane season starting in June. And so there is a degree of personal responsibility here. I think the municipality has acted properly. The thing is, a certain percentage of people won’t heed the warnings regardless.
MARGARET BRENNAN: And some of them lost their lives as a result. I would like to ask you about the Governor’s efforts towards you. I know he was visiting the area, what do you know when the water and electricity will be fully operational?
MAYOR ANDERSON: Now, I can only speak to Fort Myers, which is about 15 miles north of the beach, and the island, the barrier islands, we already have electricity slowly coming back, as well as water supply. We have crews working 16 hours a day, they will work seven days a week until we get everything restored.
MARGARET BRENNAN: Senator Scott and the FEMA administrator were just talking about the need to potentially change building codes because of the incredible devastation that you’ve seen. Is that the main problem you’ve seen with influence? Is it the buildings that are not up to snuff? Or is it just that there are incredibly different weather patterns.
MAYOR ANDERSON: So our – the majority of our damage happened right along the river and that was caused by flooding. I was in one of the worst affected areas yesterday in the eastern part of the city. You can see the newer houses are intact and they are fine. But the older houses, which were built lower and not up to current regulations, suffered more damage. So having solid good building codes is a key to this problem.
MARGARET BRENNAN: And is that one of the changes you’d like to see, or do you need some tough conversations about pulling back from building close to the water at all?
MAYOR ANDERSON: No, we have good building codes. As they said, the newer homes weathered the storm. So as people tear down and build new, they will be subject to the newer, stricter building codes. And in future storms, they should be able to do much better.
MARGARET BRENNAN: Well, we’ll see that recovery. Sir. mayor, we wish you luck. And we will follow this story. We will be right back.