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Dauphin Island, AL
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Taken from the Mobile, front page news
(Except from full story)

Bonner town hall meetings
"Requested Island Study Funds"

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Concern about health care reform led as many as 2,000 people to attend four town meetings that U.S. Rep. Jo Bonner held around the Mobile area Monday.

More than 500 met the Mobile Republican at the Mobile Senior Community Center on Hillcrest Road for the first of four stops. So many, in fact, attended that police officers closed the parking lot, leaving constituents to line their cars and trucks along four nearby subdivision streets.

An overflow crowd of nearly 500 turned out at the Tillman's Corner Community Center.

At a town hall meeting on Dauphin Island, Bonner was asked whether he would support developing a plan to rebuild the island, similar to a $439 million federal plan to rebuild Ship, Horn and Petit Bois islands along the neighboring coastline in Mississippi. Mississippi's plan was authorized by Congress in the wake of Hurricane Katrina.

"I know a lot of people came to talk about the erosion issues here," Bonner said to the crowded meeting room. "Because they were uninhabited barrier islands (in Mississippi), part of the national seashore, they were eligible for funds - because they're not privately owned, they're publicly owned.

"The intent behind it is to have that barrier protection for the Mississippi coast ... Unfortunately, that shoe doesn't fit Dauphin Island or Orange Beach or Gulf Shores as easily," he said.

He said he has requested a $1.5 million earmark to fund an engineering study of Dauphin Island. He added that the Town of Dauphin Island doesn't have the matching funds that would be required with a federal rebuilding project. "But we will do everything we can to work with you every step of the way," Bonner said.

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