FEMA aid turns politicalGetting federal disaster help from last month’s flooding in the Duluth-Superior region has taken on political tones in that area’s congressional race.
By: By Mike Simonson/Wisconsin Public Radio, Superior Telegram
Getting federal disaster help from last month’s flooding in the Duluth-Superior region has taken on political tones in that area’s congressional race.
Last week, Federal Emergency Management and Wisconsin Emergency Management people toured damaged areas in Ashland, Bayfield and Douglas counties. It’s not clear if that’ll reach the $7.7 million mark of uninsured repairs needed to public facilities. And a quirk in the process is that those counties can’t join the harder hit Minnesota in tallying total damage. It’s the same storm, but a different state.
Former Democratic state Sen. Pat Kreitlow of Chippewa Falls says that doesn’t make sense.
“It shouldn’t happen in any case where a segment of a state because the bulk of the damage was done across a state line. We are one country where federal disaster assistance should help an entire area and it would be a real failing on the part of Congressman Duffy if he were not able to help make sure that part of his district does get its fair share,” Kreitlow said.
Kreitlow is running against first-term Republican Congressman Sean Duffy of Weston. Duffy says his hands are tied, but damage assessments haven’t been finished.
“My hope though is that if there is a larger damage out there, specifically the schools, if we’re to have that included because there was significant damage there, hopefully we can get past that threshold where we can get access to federal dollars. So, if we can get to those levels, then I can be an advocate out here.”
FEMA and state officials say adding up the damage numbers may still take another week or two.