John Kerry in Springfield After Devasting Twister

John Kerry toured the Springfield, MA area last night and today in the wake of the devasting tornando that hit the area late yesterday afternoon:

Sen. John Kerry says that government needs to take care of its citizens in the wake of such disasters as the tornadoes in western Massachusetts and the May 22 catastrophe in Joplin, Mo.

“Your can’t really turn your back on people that are hurting and communities that are getting hit one way or the other,” the senator said of the role government must play in getting people relief.

“The United States of America is not so broke that we can’t do what’s necessary to take care of our citizens,” Kerry said.

Senator Kerry, Congressman Richard Neal and the Massachusetts Congressional delegation also sent a letter to President Obama today urging him to issue a Presidential Disaster Declaration to assist homes and businesses that have been damaged by the devastating tornadoes across Central and Western Massachusetts.

The text of the letter is as follows:

Dear Mr. President:

We are writing in strong support of the forthcoming Commonwealth of Massachusetts’ application for a Presidential Disaster Declaration to assist homes and businesses that have been damaged by the devastating tornadoes across Central and Western Massachusetts that occurred this week.

A series of tornadoes and strong thunderstorms hit Massachusetts with heavy rains, severe winds, and flash flooding, causing extreme damage to communities in Central and Western Massachusetts. The tornadoes and severe weather are responsible for four deaths and more than 200 injuries. There has been extensive property damage to homes, schools, and businesses, as well as widespread power outages in Central and Western Massachusetts.

In response to this disaster, Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick declared a State of Emergency throughout Massachusetts and mobilized up to 1,000 troops from the National Guard to help with rescue efforts in at least 19 communities reporting serious damage.

As a result of these deadly storms, many small business owners face not only the cost of mitigating and repairing damage to their properties but also additional loss because their stores will remain closed until they are able to make necessary repairs or in some cases completely rebuild. In an economy that has already tested the resilience of these businesses, they are now in even more desperate need of disaster assistance and loans from the Federal Emergency Management Agency and the Small Business Administration.

Governor Patrick will be providing your Administration with all the required documentation and evidence required for a disaster declaration. We urge you to act as swiftly as possible to provide a disaster declaration for Massachusetts to help address this urgent situation in our state and mitigate the losses related to the tornadoes in Central and Western Massachusetts.

Thank you in advance for your consideration of our request.

Sincerely,

John F. Kerry
Scott P. Brown
Edward J. Markey
Barney Frank
Richard E. Neal
John W. Olver
John F. Tierney
James P. McGovern
Michael Capuano
Stephen F. Lynch
Niki Tsongas
William R. Keating

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