AUGUST 21, 2013

House leaders call for President Obama and FEMA to reconsider emergency funding for Yarnell

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STATE CAPITOL, PHOENIX – Speaker of the House Andy Tobin (R-Dist. 1) and House Minority Leader Chad Campbell (D-Dist. 24) sent a letter to President Obama citing the reasons why it was necessary and important to grant Arizona’s request for Federal Disaster Relief for the recently devastated community of Yarnell.

After having sent the letter, Speaker Tobin stated, “I cannot understand how the people of Yarnell are any less deserving of Federal Emergency Assistance than the good people affected by hurricane Sandy or any other previously qualified American municipality. To deny or further delay relief to this economically vulnerable community sends a clear message to the people of Arizona that their suffering, although great, does not matter as much as that of other more populous states. Such a response should send a chill down the spines of every rural community in America as they will now face the prospect of paying taxes to maintain a system that may not be there after disaster strikes them.”

In a letter to the President, both legislative leaders reiterated the level of devastation that the rural community sustained and the economic fragility of the vast majority of the people of Yarnell. They asked the President to “honor your [President Obama’s] commitments and help the most deserving and distressed residents of Yarnell.”

Citing the need to move on the request, Minority Leader Campbell stated, “We have an obligation to help the rebuilding efforts of those who lost so much in the Yarnell Hill fire. In Arizona, we are setting aside political divisions to ensure that those affected by this disaster get what they need. That work will happen at the state level regardless of FEMA’s decision to deny federal aid to Yavapai County. Both the president and vice president said they would do all they can to help, and I hope they will honor that commitment. Clearly, there are rules and regulations that are meant to guide FEMA in making decisions about disaster relief. I am encouraging President Obama and Vice President Biden to look at the situation more closely because I strongly believe that, after further consideration, FEMA will overturn its decision.”

See Full Letter

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