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Congressman Bruce Westerman, along with U.S. Senators John Boozman and Tom Cotton, and Congressmen Rick Crawford, French Hill, and Steve Womack—wrote to President Joe Biden urging him to support Arkansas Governor Sarah Huckabee Sanders’ request for a major disaster declaration for Arkansas, Faulkner, Lonoke, Mississippi, Poinsett, Pope and Pulaski Counties due to severe storms, tornadoes and straight-line winds on June 25, 2023.

“The resourcefulness and resilience of Arkansans in recent months have been impressive; however, as losses mount, the people of our great state hope the federal government will join in these restoration efforts,” members wrote in the letter.

The letter can be found here and below:

Dear Mr. President,

On behalf of the State of Arkansas, we are writing to support Governor Sarah Huckabee Sanders’ request to declare a major disaster, pursuant to the Robert T. Stafford Disaster Relief Act, as a result of severe storms, tornadoes, and straight-line winds that occurred on June 25, 2023.

As Governor Sanders noted in her request, these storms created enormous amounts of debris, extensive power outages and resulted in the tragic death of two citizens. Thunderstorm activity produced up to grapefruit-sized hail; 60-100 mile per hour wind gusts across Arkansas, Faulkner, Lonoke, Mississippi, Poinsett, and Pulaski Counties; and tornados in Pope and Pulaski Counties. Multiple counties reported widespread power outages, downed trees, and damage to homes. In the aftermath of the storms, many counties were left without power for days, with the heat index in the state reaching up to 115°F in some areas affected.

Based on preliminary damage assessments conducted by FEMA, an estimated $3,736,719 is needed to cover the cost of temporary housing, repairs, and replacement housing, as well as provide for other needs required by citizens of the seven counties mentioned above. The impact on local jurisdictions is staggering and cannot be overlooked. Due to this, we believe the severe magnitude of these weather events warrants supplemental federal assistance.

The resourcefulness and resilience of Arkansans in recent months have been impressive; however, as losses mount, the people of our great state hope the federal government will join in these restoration efforts. As you know, this has been a tumultuous year for extreme weather events in Arkansas, with two Presidential Major Disaster and Emergency Declarations already declared.

The entire Arkansas delegation is eager to assist in any way possible to ensure expedited evaluation of this request. Please do not hesitate to contact our offices with any questions. We thank you for your support and respectfully ask for your attention and assistance in providing the resources necessary to ensure the safety of Arkansas.

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