Senator Mitch McConnell visits KYEM Operations Center, briefed on tornado recovery process

Posted at 7:35 PM, Jan 25, 2022
and last updated 2022-01-25 19:35:27-05

(LEX 18) — Kentucky Emergency Management officials briefed Senator Mitch McConnell on the state's tornado recovery progress after he toured the emergency operations center on Tuesday.

McConnell urged for support of relief efforts to continue.

"I think the most important thing is those who want to help to not, sort of, disappear over the period of time," he said. "What we need to do with these various government agencies is stick with them for the long haul. This is not going to get better as quickly as they would like, or we would like."

"So, don’t give up hope," added McConnell. "Look forward. And let’s rebuild."

McConnell praised everyone from the governor to the president for playing an important role in Kentucky's recovery.

"I think we had good cooperation," said McConnell. "I think there has been zero political partisanship involved in this, and that’s the way it ought to be."

Kentucky's Emergency Management Director, Michael Dossett, said although everything is moving along, it never feels quick enough when people are hurting.

"Government is never quick enough. But all of the pieces are here and we’re moving forward as one long partnership as we’re assisting our communities in western Kentucky," said Dossett.

According to Governor Andy Beshear, it's going to take a long time before communities in Western Kentucky are back to normal. In fact, he says it's going to take a while just to clean up the debris.

"This is devastation in the amount of debris like never before," said Beshear during his Monday press conference.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers estimates the tornadoes left 4.6 million cubic yards of debris. 1.1 million cubic yards of that debris have been removed. That's 24.5% of the total debris.

The federal government has provided Kentucky's tornado victims with millions of dollars in assistance. However, when asked if there is anything else the government can do, McConnell suggested looking at re-allocating some of Kentucky's American Rescue Plan money.

"As a result of the bill that I did not support about a year ago, our state and other states are literally awash in money," said McConnell.

"To what extent that can be reprogrammed, you’d have to ask the state government," he added. "But reprogramming is something we look at all the time on the federal level."