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Woodford Times - Peoria, IL
  • Washington mayor will attend State of the Union Address

  • Washington Mayor Gary Manier will attend the State of Union Address next week as a guest of U.S. Sen. Mark Kirk.
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  • Washington Mayor Gary Manier will attend the State of Union Address next week as a guest of U.S. Sen. Mark Kirk. “I'm excited to have the opportunity to attend the State of the Union as Senator Kirk's guest,” Manier said in a statements. “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.” The State of the Union Address will be delivered Tuesday by President Barack Obama to a joint session of the Senate and the House of Representatives. In a statement released Wednesday, Kirk said Manier's attendance is part of Kirk's efforts to get FEMA to change its funding requirements for local governments faced with disasters. 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. Kirk, R-Illinois, along with Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Illinois, sent a letter to FEMA on Jan. 14 requesting a change in FEMA's disaster zone valuation. “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,” 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." 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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