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Senate President Robert Stivers tours flood damage, says special session is possible to help rebuild

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Posted at 4:17 PM, Aug 02, 2022
and last updated 2022-08-02 17:36:48-04

CLAY COUNTY, Ky. (LEX 18) — In Clay County, the small community of Oneida took a lot of the flooding damage.

But neighbors are not letting the destruction keep survivors down. On Tuesday, groups spent the day helping people clear out their homes.

"One garbage bag at a time," said James Fugate, a volunteer. "All we can do now is start to rebuild and get back what we lost."

About 30 minutes from that clean-up location is Senate President Robert Stivers' hometown office. On Tuesday, Stivers returned to his office after days of assessing destruction in Eastern Kentucky.

He has also seen flood damage - firsthand - at his father-in-law's home.

“My father-in-law has lived where he’s lived for 44 years and never a drop of water in his house," said Stivers. "And they got it.”

Stivers said the destruction in Eastern Kentucky is like nothing he's ever seen before.

“Sections of blacktop that were just picked up by the water and moved 20 feet," he explained.

As a legislative leader, Stivers is also thinking about how Kentucky can help. And that means money.

“Do we need to come in with a substantial package to assist in clean-up and rebuilding?" he told LEX 18 News.

Stivers is thinking about a package similar to what the legislature sent to Western Kentucky after deadly tornadoes destroyed entire communities. However, lawmakers don't begin their legislative session until January and Stivers says this money needs to be deployed sooner.

“I think there is very much the possibility of a special session," said Stivers. "It’s premature right now because we don’t know everything we need.”

But once the damage is assessed and the price tag is known, Stivers says the legislature will be ready to act.