Transcript: Fort Myers, Florida, Mayor Kevin Anderson on

The following is a transcript of an interview with Fort Myers, Florida, Mayor Kevin Anderson that aired on Sunday, Oct. 2, 2022.

MARGARET BRENNAN: We turn now to Kevin Anderson, the mayor of Fort Myers, Florida. Mr. Mayor, the county that you are in was hit very hard. And we know county residents weren’t told to evacuate until Tuesday morning, a day after the neighboring counties. Do you think that was enough forewarning for your residents?

MAYOR KEVIN ANDERSON: Well, you know, Margaret warnings for hurricane season start in June. And so there’s a degree of personal responsibility here. I think the county acted appropriately. The thing is that a certain percentage of people will not heed the warnings regardless. 

MARGARET BRENNAN: And some of them lost their lives as a result. I want to ask you about the governor’s efforts to you I know he was visiting the area, what do you know about when the water and electricity will be fully functioning?

 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 returning, as well as water service. We have crews that are 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 just spoke about the need to potentially change building codes because of just the incredible devastation that you’ve seen. Is that the prime issue you’ve seen with impact? Is it the buildings aren’t up to snuff? Or is it that there’s just incredibly different weather patterns.

MAYOR ANDERSON: So our- most of our damage was right along the river, and it was caused by flooding. I was in one of the worst hit areas yesterday in the east side of town. You can see the newer houses are intact, and they’re fine. But the older homes which were built lower, and not up to the current codes, they suffered more damage. So having solid good building codes is a key to this issue.

MARGARET BRENNAN: And is that one of the changes you’d like to see or do you need to have some tough conversations about pulling back from building near the water at all?

MAYOR ANDERSON: No, we have good building codes. As they said the newer homes they withstood the storm. So as people tear down and build new, they’ll be subjected to the newer, tougher building codes. And in future storms, they should be able to weather it a lot better.

MARGARET BRENNAN: Well, we will be watching that recovery. Mr. Mayor, we wish you the best of luck. And we’ll be tracking this story. We’ll be right back.

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