Congressman Mike Turner demanded an apology from Dayton Mayor Nan Whaley Tuesday over comments she made in the Dayton Daily News saying he didn’t ask for federal assistance after the Memorial Day tornadoes.
In an interview on the region’s tornado efforts Whaley said Turner did not call her office offering assistance nor ask for a designation of assistance from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).
That prompted Turner Tuesday to respond to Whaley with a letter in which he outlined steps he and his staff took in response to the disaster beginning May 28, the morning after the wave of tornadoes swept through the region.
“The morning after the tornadoes hit our community I met with the Governor and discussed the request for a FEMA designation,” Turner wrote. “Also, I immediately began working with our Senators and the White House on our community’s request for a FEMA designation.”
Turner also toured damaged neighborhoods in Montgomery and Greene counties the morning after the tornadoes.
Turner’s office Tuesday provided a June 11 letter he wrote to President Donald Trump expressing support for Gov. Mike DeWine’s request for a federal disaster declaration.
In the letter to Whaley Tuesday, Turner said the mayor knew her comments were false because the two had appeared on a local TV show on June 7 to discuss disaster response efforts.
In a written response to the letter, Whaley said: “I don’t dispute the fact that Congressman Turner sent a letter asking FEMA for a federal designation. The intention of my statement was that as many of us worked in bipartisan partnership, Congressman Turner did not contact myself or the City administration.”
Whaley said that the tornado response has called for a bipartisan response.
“He should look to his colleagues, Senator Portman, Senator Brown and Governor DeWine as a model,” she said. “They all have been in constant contact with the City and it has been invaluable during this crisis.”
On June 11 the Ohio Governor’s office did formally request that the Federal Emergency Management Agency declare that Ohio suffered from a ‘major disaster’ in the tornado outbreak.
A state summary determined that 21 tornadoes hit Ohio Memorial Day weekend, injuring 385 people and killing one.
“Homes, entire apartment complexes and businesses have been destroyed,” The DeWine administration report concluded. “Power transmission and distribution lines were heavily damaged, with peak power outages in excess of 70,000.”
On June 18 Pres. Donald Trump approved the major disaster declaration and since then aid centers have opened in affected areas.
FEMA assistance can include rent payments for temporary housing, grants for home repairs, replace personal property and meet medical, dental and other serious disaster-related needs not covered by insurance or other aid programs.
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