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Kirk, Durbin, Delegation Support Governor Quinn Appeal to President

Friday, Mar 16, 2012

Kirk, Durbin, Delegation Call on President to Grant Appeal of Denial of Federal Relief for Southern Illinois Counties

 

WASHINGTON, DC – U.S. Senators Mark Kirk (R-IL) and Dick Durbin (D-IL) were joined by the entire Illinois Congressional Delegation today sending a letter to President Obama in support of the State of Illinois’ appeal of the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA) denial of federal assistance to the five Southern Illinois counties affected by severe storms and tornadoes earlier this month. FEMA issued the denial last Sunday.

 

“We write to support Illinois Governor Pat Quinn’s appeal of the denial of federal assistance for the State of Illinois for damage incurred as a result of deadly tornadoes on February 29 through March 2, 2012,” the Illinois members wrote. “According to the Governor, Illinois was denied federal funding for these five counties because the information gathered during joint federal, state, and local preliminary damage assessments indicated the damage in these counties was not of the severity and magnitude that would warrant a major disaster declaration. Subsequent to the gathering of this information, however, additional information about the communities in these five counties has been brought to light. Without help, this disaster may have provided a blow the local economy simply cannot recover from fully.”

 

Yesterday, Durbin met with Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Administrator, Craig Fugate, to discuss FEMA’s original decision and the State of Illinois’ appeal. Durbin was joined by representatives from Kirk’s office and representatives from the offices of U.S. Congressmen John Shimkus (R-IL), Jerry Costello (D-IL) and Tim Johnson (R-IL). The Director of the Illinois Emergency Management Agency, Jonathon Monken, also joined the meeting by phone.

 

Today, Illinois Governor Pat Quinn submitted an appeal to the decision not to issue a major disaster declaration for five counties in Southern Illinois – Gallatin, Randolph, Saline, Union, and Williamson – due to the storms and tornadoes that ravaged the counties leaving local governments, charitable organizations, voluntary agencies and evacuees taking on the initial costs of the disasters. A major disaster declaration would allow cities and counties to apply for federal reimbursements to help pay for storm damage repairs.

 

Members signing on to today’s letter include Representatives Judy Biggert (R-IL), Jerry Costello (D-IL), Danny Davis (D-IL), Robert Dold (R-IL), Luis Gutierrez (D-IL), Randy Hultgren (R-IL), Jesse Jackson, Jr. (D-IL), Tim Johnson (R-IL), Adam Kinzinger (R-IL), Dan Lipinski (D-IL), Don Manzullo (R-IL), Mike Quigley (D-IL), Peter Roskam (R-IL), Bobby Rush (D-IL), Jan Schakowsky (D-IL), Bobby Schilling (R-IL) Aaron Schock (R-IL), John Shimkus (R-IL) and Joe Walsh (R-IL).

 

Click here for a copy of the signed letter.

[Text of the letter below]

 

March 15, 2012

 

The Honorable Barack Obama

President of the United States

The White House

Washington, D. C.

 

Dear Mr. President:

 

We write to support Illinois Governor Pat Quinn’s appeal of the denial of federal assistance for the State of Illinois for damage incurred as a result of deadly tornadoes on February 29 through March 2, 2012. Gallatin, Randolph, Saline, Union and Williamson Counties are affected. Governor Quinn has already declared these counties state disaster areas. Federal assistance is necessary to help the affected communities recover from the deadly disaster.

 

According to the Governor, Illinois was denied federal funding for these five counties because the information gathered during joint federal, state, and local preliminary damage assessments indicated the damage in these counties was not of the severity and magnitude that would warrant a major disaster declaration. Subsequent to the gathering of this information, however, additional information about the communities in these five counties has been brought to light. For example, the poverty rate in these areas of the state is nearly double the state average. The median income of the people in these counties is roughly half that of the rest of the state. Only about twenty percent of the residents affected by the tornadoes and storms have insurance to pay for this type of damage.

 

In addition to the demographic information identified by the State since the initial damage assessment, please consider the trauma experienced by these neighborhoods as a result of the storms when considering the state’s appeal. In Harrisburg, where seven people lost their lives during and as a result of the tornado, 1,600 of the 9,600 residents are displaced because their homes were either destroyed or rendered uninhabitable. Despite its small size, Harrisburg is home to the majority of jobs located within a 30- to 40-mile radius in that part of our state. Without help, this disaster may have provided a blow the local economy simply cannot recover from fully.

 

We respectfully request that you make the necessary declaration so that people in these five counties can receive the assistance they need to repair damage. We thank you in advance for your timely consideration of this important request and stand ready to assist in any way appropriate.

Chicago                                                               
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Springfield
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Phone: 217-492-5089
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Phone: 202-224-2854
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