from The Congressman

The congressman of an East Texas district hit hard by Hurricane Rita's winds says the biggest problems his district faces are loss of power and tree damage.

Congressman Kevin Brady surveyed damage to the East Texas district by helicopter today.

The Republican from The Woodlands says officials in Jasper estimate that restoring power in the city and Jasper County could take one to two months. He says he's been told that electrical crews on which the county usually relies for repairs are out of state.

Jasper Mayor David Barber told Brady the city's power grid has to be rebuilt. The power loss is especially troublesome because the city was a destination for evacuees from hurricanes Katrina and Rita. Brady also says timber damage in some places looks like clear-cut forests. He says Orange "took a big hit, in a big way" with heavy damage to homes and commercial buildings and a good part of the Sabine River city under water. Brady's district extends from Huntsville and Houston's Montgomery County suburbs on the west to the Sabine River on the east.

Hurricane Rita swept through the eastern half of the district after landfall day before yesterday.