Legislators helping rebuild after storms
by James Phillips
May 01, 2011 | 3068 views | 0 0 comments | 9 9 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Sen. Greg Reed and Rep. Richard Baughn speak with officials from Gov. Robert Bentley’s cabinet as well as Walker County EMA officials Friday afternoon in Cordova. - Photo by: James Phillips
Sen. Greg Reed and Rep. Richard Baughn speak with officials from Gov. Robert Bentley’s cabinet as well as Walker County EMA officials Friday afternoon in Cordova. - Photo by: James Phillips
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CORDOVA -- Local legislators, along with a member of Gov. Robert Bentley's cabinet spent much of Friday visiting storm-damaged areas in Walker County.

Sen. Greg Reed (R-Jasper) and Rep. Richard Baughn (R-Lynn) escorted Dr. Bob Mullins, Alabama's Medicaid commissioner, through Argo and Sipsey before visiting Cordova Friday. Mullins said he was the member of Bentley's cabinet assigned to report to the governor on damage in Walker and Fayette counties.

"The governor has sent cabinet members to each area in the state that has been affected by the storm," Mullins said. "Within the next two weeks, he plans to visit each county that had a fatality during the storm outbreak. Part of my visit here in Cordova is to help plan for that visit."

Mullins said an announcement regarding the date, time and location of the governor's visit to Walker County will be made in the coming days.

Mullins said the devastation left from Wednesday's storms is unlike anything he has ever seen.

"It's tragic, and the sad thing is that it is not isolated," he said. "The damage that we see in Cordova is also in other areas of the state. It is a widespread event, and it is just as bad in those other areas as it is here."

Reed said as a result of Wednesday's severe weather 33 people lost their lives in his district, which covers Walker County as well as parts of Jefferson, Winston and Tuscaloosa counties.

"I've traveled to each area in my district that has suffered damage and loss of lives," he said. "I was in Pleasant Grove and Cordova on Thursday. I was in Sipsey and Argo this morning and now we are back in Cordova. We are trying to do all we can to help the situation and to help the great people who live in these areas."

Baughn said he has been moved by the outpouring of help in damaged areas.

"People in our part of the country go out of their way to help their neighbors," he said. "I've seen that up close since these storms hit. I want to thank everyone for reaching out and helping those in need. We are here to find out the needs and do our best to make sure those needs are met."

Members of a U.S. National Guard detachment from Florence were brought into Cordova Thursday to help with security, Reed said.

"We needed these troops in here for security," he said. "We haven't had any problems, but we've had police officers that have been working nonstop for days now. We had to get more people in here so they can get some rest. That's what the National Guard is here for."

Reed said he had also worked with Emergency Management Agency officials to get more help for the Argo community and Sipsey.

"EMA had not been able to get to Argo until today (Friday)," he said. "We were able to get a representative and take them to that area so they could make a full report. They spoke with victims there, and now we are trying to get them more help."

Reed said the Alabama Legislature is doing everything it can to help storm-damaged areas of the state.

"We know our citizens need us, and we are here to help," he said.