Remember that tornado that tore up a lot of Billie Sutton’s hometown of Burke back in August? It was big enough to make CNN, but not big enough for Donald Trump to send money. Burke was just one of six locales where Trump’s FEMA says August storm damage was within the locals ability to pay:
The Department of Public Safety has announced that FEMA denied the state’s appeal for a presidential disaster declaration covering severe weather damage done in six South Dakota counties from Aug. 2-11, 2019.
South Dakota officials had requested a disaster declaration for Public Assistance to damage done by severe storms, tornadoes and floods in the counties of Brule, Custer, Gregory, Lyman, Spink and Tripp. That request included Custer County which experienced flash flooding during the Sturgis Rally Aug. 2 and the town of Burke, which was struck by an EF-1 tornado on Aug. 6.
FEMA declined the initial assistance request and South Dakota appealed. That appeal was denied last week [Department of Public Safety, press release, 2019.11.27].
Governor Kristi Noem disagrees with the feds’ assessment of those stricken counties’ wealth:
“We are disappointed both by the initial decision and now the denial of the appeal,” said Noem. “These counties were impacted by severe weather and damage was done to public infrastructure such as roads and bridges.”
In its denial, FEMA officials stated that none of the damage was “of the severity and magnitude” that it would prove too costly for the state and local governments to fund themselves.
“These counties, like the rest of the state, have been battered by storm after storm this year,” Noem said. “The impact these damages have on the budgets of the six counties has been tremendous. These counties, many of them small, do not have the financial resources to do this response on their own” [DPS, 2019.11.27].
Count those six counties among the voting districts who will be receptive to candidates campaigning for bigger government in 2020.