Biden to Join KY Gov to Survey Damage 08/08 06:09
WASHINGTON (AP) -- President Joe Biden and the first lady are expected to
join Gov. Andy Beshear and his wife, Britainy, as they meet with families and
view damage from storms that have created the worst flooding in Kentucky's
At least 37 people have died since last month's deluge, which dropped 8 to
10 1/2 inches of rain in only 48 hours. The National Weather Service said
Sunday that flooding remains a threat, warning of more thunderstorms through
Monday's visit will be Biden's second to the state. He previously visited in
December after tornadoes whipped through Kentucky, killing 77 people and
leaving a trail of destruction.
"I wish I could tell you why we keep getting hit here in Kentucky," Beshear
said recently. "I wish I could tell you why areas where people may not have
much continue to get hit and lose everything. I can't give you the why, but I
know what we do in response to it. And the answer is everything we can. These
are our people. Let's make sure we help them out."
Biden has expanded federal disaster assistance to Kentucky, ensuring the
federal government will cover the full cost of debris removal and other
White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said the Federal Emergency
Management Agency has provided more than $3.1 million in relief funds, and
hundreds of rescue personnel have been deployed to help.
The flooding came just one month after Beshear visited Mayfield to celebrate
the completion of the first houses to be fully constructed since a tornado
nearly wiped out the town. Three families were handed keys to their new homes
that day, and the governor in his remarks hearkened back to a visit he had made
in the immediate aftermath.
"I pledged on that day that while we had been knocked down, we were not
knocked out," Beshear said. "That we would get back up again and we would move
forward. And six months to the day, we're not just up, we're not just standing
on our feet, we are moving forward."
Now more disasters are testing the state. Beshear has been to eastern
Kentucky as many times as weather permitted since the flooding began. He's had
daily news conferences stretching an hour to provide details including a full
range of assistance for victims. Much like after the tornadoes, Beshear opened
relief funds going directly to people in the beleaguered regions.
A Democrat, Beshear narrowly defeated a Republican incumbent in 2019, and
he's seeking a second term in 2023.
Polling has consistently shown him with strong approval ratings from
Kentuckians. But several prominent Republicans have entered the governor's
race, taking turns pounding the governor for his aggressive pandemic response
and trying to tie him to Biden and rising inflation.
Beshear comments frequently about the toll surging inflation is taking in
eating at Kentuckians' budgets. He avoids blaming Biden, instead pointing to
the Russian invasion of Ukraine and supply chain bottlenecks as contributors to
rising consumer costs.