SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (NEXSTAR) — Governor Pritzker returned from his annual trip to the White House with good news for portions of the state along the banks of the Illinois and Mississippi rivers that flooded last year.
In a phone call with our Capitol Bureau, Pritzker said he secured a pledge from the White House to take action on sending federal aid to help Illinois towns affected in the floods prevent future damage in the event more floods impact the area.
“We need resources,” Pritzker said moments after leaving the White House. “So I asked the President for help. And he said, ‘Absolutely.’ He wants to deliver that. And he, in fact, turned to his staff and said, ‘Let’s get on that.’
“I specifically asked him for assistance with the Army Corps of Engineers, for our rivers, our river towns and all the counties that were so badly affected with states of emergencies last year of flooding. We need help from the Army Corps. That’s been slow in coming.”
In August, Pritzker asked the Federal Emergency Management Agency to declare the floods from the spring and summer of 2019 as a federal disaster. FEMA granted Illinois’ request to provide public assistance, which allowed for federal aid to go to local city and county governments; but, FEMA denied the state’s request for individual assistance, which could have helped nearly 1,700 homes and businesses that sustained damage from the flooding.
Now, the Governor is focused on improving the infrastructure of locks and dams to prevent future damage if flooding returns to the region.
“The governor of Iowa expressed to me her thanks for raising this issue,” Pritzker said. “And I afterward had several of the White House staff come up to me and and give me their cards and let me know that they’re going to get on it.”
The state’s website warns affected homeowners to beware of scams from people who claim to represent FEMA or some other flood disaster recovery effort.
The White House has not yet responded to a request seeking comment.