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Rep. Keating Says Americans Should be Grateful for Irene Preparation

Keating [dot] House [dot] gov(WASHINGTON) -- The Northeast is just beginning to recover from its tangle with Hurricane Irene and Rep. Bill Keating is the perfect subject for an assessment.

He’s the ranking Democrat on the Homeland Security subcommittee for oversight and he was on the coast at his home in Monument Beach, Massachusetts when the storm hit.

Monument Beach and the surrounding area saw some of the biggest water surges during the hurricane.  The Congressman’s house lost power and internet connection on Sunday, though power was back up on Monday.  According to his spokesperson, one of the most dangerous things was an unanchored sail boat that was being tossed around in the water during the storm.

But Keating told ABC’s Top Line Monday that “preparation was excellent” and for that people should be grateful.

Keating, who said he has spent the day talking to local merchants, praised President Obama’s declaration of a state of emergency in Massachusetts, 12 other states, the District of Colombia and Puerto Rico.

“The big thing, this cash -- cash style really cities and towns and local business people are affected by this.  So I think the preparation was looked at very gratefully but you know people are still overcoming as I am being without power, sitting at your home, there are 700,000 people across Massachusetts and millions across the eastern part of the country,” Keating said.

More than 4.5 million people along the East Coast were without power Monday.  In addition, Irene is blamed for the deaths of at least 40 people.

But for now, Keating said people are “looking at the response from a personal term, and I can feel what it's like to be without power myself.  And be grateful at the same time that people weren't hurt or seriously injured.”

He later added: “I'm just happy that no one was hurt in my community, no one was hurt here.  Unfortunately we can't say that for every community.”

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

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