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President Biden surveys areas damaged by Hurricane Ian, meets Gov. DeSantis in visit to Florida

Posted at 5:34 PM, Oct 05, 2022
and last updated 2022-10-05 17:34:34-04

FORT MYERS BEACH, Fla. — While the November election is only weeks away — it might as well be years for some in Ft. Myers Beach.
Casting a ballot isn't top of mind right now— it's survival.

William Waters is trudging through what remains of his Ft. Myers Beach home after Ian's storm surge trashed the place.

"That's how high the water was — about six feet," Waters said.

Almost everything here is soaked, broken, or missing.

"This was a tough one to come back to, buddy," Waters said.

He's now one of the many victims searching for help from state and federal authorities.

"Cleaning this place up — it's going to take a lot of work," Waters said.

Which, until recently, were butting heads over immigration policy, race and gender education, and inflation.

But President Joe Biden and Governor Ron DeSantis appeared to put aside their political rivalry, Wednesday — shaking hands during Biden's visit to Lee County.

The president also toured damaged coastal homes and businesses by air— and later met with impacted Floridians before a brief press conference.

"I'm sure it's worse on the ground, but you can see a whole hell of a lot of the damage from the air," Biden said.

Biden vowed to work with DeSantis — a potential 2024 challenger — and other state Republicans to keep federal aid flowing saying recovery comes first.

"We're not leaving — we're not leaving until this gets done," Biden said.

The comments follow an expansion of Florida's disaster declaration, greenlit by the president earlier in the day.

Floridians getting another 30 days of federal funds for debris removal; doubling the total to 60 days.

Dollars Mr. Waters may need to take advantage of.

Because to him, it's not about who's in power — but who has the power to help.

"We're on survival mode here — we're not really getting political or anything like that," Waters said.

Florida's Secretary of State is in talks with impacted county election leaders to determine how best to help those wanting to vote.

Options could include extended deadlines and expedited filing.