Isabel Forces Members to Go Back in Time

Posted September 23, 2003 at 6:01pm

By Carolyn Shuckerow, Inga Beyer and Jessica L. Brady

Roll Call Staff

For some North Carolina and Virginia Members, Hurricane Isabel wasn’t just a matter of worrying about their constituents. It was a matter of surviving the storm themselves.

Rep. Walter Jones Jr. (R-N.C.) was in his home in Farmville when the hurricane struck. He was in continuous contact with his fully staffed Washington office last Thursday, when power loss rendered his cordless phones useless. He was forced to find an alternative: An antique phone from the 1940s he found in storage allowed him to resume contact.

His spokeswoman, Lanier Swann, said Jones lost power for eight hours and rode out 80 mile-per-hour winds with his wife, dogs and cats.

In Raleigh, N.C., Sen. Elizabeth Dole (R) was at the Sheraton Capital Center hotel doing an interview with WRAL, a local TV station, when Isabel struck. When the power and phone service went out, the camera lost power but the feed remained. In the pitch-black hotel room, Dole’s interview continued with the help of a flashlight, said spokesman Brian Nick.

Although Rep. Jo Ann Davis (R-Va.) is still out of power on her farm in Gloucester, the lack of electricity was the least of her troubles. According to spokesman Chris Connelly, Davis had to “literally chainsaw her way out of her driveway” because of fallen trees on her property.

“There are about 50 trees down,” Connelly said. “It was quite the ordeal.”

Davis is touring her district surveying the damage and speaking to local representatives.

Rep. Jim Moran (D-Va.), who toured sections of his district with Gov. Mark Warner (D), said he was without power from Thursday to Sunday.

“I just went to bed earlier and used my car phone,” he said, adding that his children were happy to have Internet access again once power was restored.