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McConnell touts tornado recovery support during Mayfield visit

Lily Burris
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell visited Mayfield to speak with officials about tornado recovery. Mayfield Mayor Kathy O'Nan spoke highly of McConnell's efforts to help impacted Kentuckians.

Senator Mitch McConnell visited Mayfield Thursday to show his continuing support for Kentuckians devastated by December’s tornado outbreak.

McConnell spoke with local leaders about ongoing recovery efforts in Mayfield. Mayor Kathy O’Nan said McConnell has provided for the city as he promised he would in the initial aftermath of the December tornado outbreak.

“We got in a car out here on a rainy day, the first week after the tornado and I just started talking because they had said, ‘You got him for a little time, talk to him,’” O’Nan said. “I probably drove him crazy.”

One of the things O’Nan asked for was a lower payback rate to the Federal Emergency Management Agency. Normally, the rate is at 25-75% split. The request from those affected in this region was for a 10-90% split.

McConnell added tornado aid to a congressional funding bill that increased the cost-sharing minimum from 75% to 90%, like requested. McConnell agreed with O’Nan that it was a concern early on that it would be difficult to raise the previously required 25% cost-sharing match.

“This is my third trip here, and I'm inspired not only by the mayor, but by the local leadership here,” McConnell said. “Everybody's upbeat and optimistic in building back to the future.”

This lessened match allows communities to have more funds to work on recovery and rebuilding.

FEMA officials indicate that debris clean up is making good progress and work toward housing for tornado survivors is in the works.

When asked about the ongoing war in Ukraine, McConnell said he thinks the administration is stepping up, but needs to be clear on its goal.

“The goal is to win, to defeat the Russians in Ukraine,” McConnell said. “That's the Ukrainian goal. It should be our goal, and I think we need to just help them and stick with them until they defeat the Russians.”

Lily Burris is a tornado recovery reporter for WKMS, Murray State's NPR Station. Her nine month reporting project is supported by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.
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