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Kirk Announces Washington, Illinois, Mayor Gary Manier As His Guest for the Upcoming State of the Union Address

Manier’s Community Was Devastated in November Following Deadly Tornadoes; Pushes FEMA to Re-Assess Their Methodology for Distributing Aid

Wednesday, Jan 22, 2014

CHICAGO – U.S. Senator Mark Kirk (R-Ill.) today announced that his guest for next Tuesday's State of the Union Address will be Gary W. Manier, Mayor of Washington, Illinois.

“Having seen firsthand with Mayor Manier the devastation that November’s deadly tornadoes caused, it’s time for a serious reevaluation of FEMA’s methodology for providing Public Assistance,” Sen. Kirk said. “Hundreds of families in Mayor Manier’s community were displaced due to these storms, and FEMA should treat all communities fairly when a disaster strikes."

“I’m excited to have the opportunity to attend the State of the Union as Senator Kirk’s guest,” Mayor Manier said. “Senator Kirk toured our city a few days after the tornadoes hit, and continues to be a fierce advocate for our community’s recovery efforts. I’m grateful for his friendship and help.”

Earlier this month, FEMA declined to provide Public Assistance aid to Illinois communities impacted by last November's tornadoes, stating that the damage assessment did not meet federal standards and requirements for assistance. Senator Kirk, along with Senator Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), sent a letter to FEMA on January 14, 2014, requesting a change in FEMA's disaster zone valuation. You can view the letter here.

FEMA’s current determination of Public Assistance aid relies heavily on the “per capita” factor, which gives larger states like Illinois a severe disadvantage when determining aid. Due to Illinois’ large, urban populous center, according to FEMA standards the state has to incur a higher level of damage in order to receive aid and assistance from the agency.

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