April 5. 2024

Kari Lerner calls out federal, state, and local leaders for catastrophic loss of FEMA flood insurance funding.

CAPE CORAL, FLORIDA — Florida U.S. Representative Byron Donalds’ (R-19) Democratic challenger Kari Lerner took him and other federal, state, and local officials to task following the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA) decision to disallow the federal flood insurance discount to 125,000 property owners in Lee County. [1] 

Lerner, a Cape Coral resident and realtor, issued the following statement:

“Southwest Floridians have had enough from our negligent politicians. Their collective inability to prioritize our community’s recovery from Hurricane Ian is costing us thousands.”

“Governor Ron DeSantis and the State Legislature have been absolutely incompetent in reigning in our skyrocketing insurance rates. The Lee County Commissioners and officials from cities other than Fort Myers and Sanibel failed to heed warnings from FEMA about improper rebuilding that would trigger a loss of FEMA flood insurance discounts. And now our federal officials say they are ‘discouraged’ and have sent a letter to FEMA asking that the funding be restored.” [2] [3] 

“To our hapless Florida leaders, we are not ‘discouraged’… we’re sick and tired of it. Officials should have prioritized this from the beginning.”

“To make matters more expensive, our opponent Byron Donalds — who spends his every waking moment auditioning to be Donald Trump’s running mate — has failed miserably in his promise to reduce federal taxes with Hurricane Ian relief. Despite serving in the majority in Congress, Donalds’ Hurricane Tax Relief Act (H.R. 1494) — which he called his ‘utmost priority’ — has languished in committee for over a year.” [4] [5]

“The only ‘utmost’ priorities Byron Donalds has been demonstrating are his ongoing audition to be former President Trump’s running mate and his numerous votes to shut down our government – which includes FEMA funding! We deserve better, we CAN have better.” [6]  


[1] FEMA stuns Florida with pricey hurricane penalty, Politico Pro, April 3, 2024.
[2] In Florida, Skyrocketing Insurance Rates Test Resolve of Homeowners in Risky Areas, Inside Climate News, March 6, 2024.
[3] “We are discouraged!” 4 US lawmakers tell FEMA to return insurance discount, Fox 4, April 4, 2024.
[4] H.R.1494 – Hurricane Tax Relief Act, 118th Congress (2023-2024).
[5] Exclusive: Byron Donalds believes Ian tax relief is stalled in senate, Wink News, February 14, 2024.
[6] FEMA delays $2.8 billion in disaster aid to keep from running out of money, Washington Post, September 27, 2023.