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Washington Mayor To Attend State Of The Union Address

This file aerial photo of Nov. 18, 2013, shows the path of a tornado that hit the western Illinois town of Washington the day before.

This file aerial photo of Nov. 18, 2013, shows the path of a tornado that hit the western Illinois town of Washington the day before. (Charles Rex Arbogast/AP)

The mayor of one of the hardest-hit communities during the November tornadoes is headed to the nation’s capital for next week’s State of the Union address.

U.S. Sen. Mark Kirk (R-Ill.) invited Washington Mayor Gary Manier to attend the address. Manier said Kirk toured the damage shortly after the destructive storm destroyed hundreds of homes.

“I think it really touched him and he went back and I don’t think he forgot what he saw and he reached back out after the FEMA denial," Manier said. "I’m just so appreciative. Not that I want to leave the city of Washington for any reason, but if it’s to draw more attention to what has happened here and we can get the appeal and be successful, I’m willing to do it.”

The Federal Emergency Management Agency recently denied Illinois federal public assistance for communities hit by the Nov. 17 tornadoes. Gov. Quinn must appeal the decision by Feb. 6. The money would help local communities pay for debris removal and other publicly-funded cleanup efforts.  

Manier said he also hopes to talk with other lawmakers in Washington, D.C. about changing how FEMA calculates public assistance. He said Sens. Kirk and Dick Durbin, as well as Congressman Aaron Schock, are also working on the issue.

Categories: Environment, Government