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Oklahomans Stand Strong Against Mother Nature

July 16, 2007
Weekly Columns

Recently, I sent a letter to the President calling for flood assistance for Comanche county in accordance with Governor Henry’s emergency disaster declaration request.  Pottawatomie, Comanche, Ottawa, and Washington counties are included in the initial request.  Due to the intensity of flooding, it is difficult for local governments to make repairs without supplemental assistance from the Federal Government.  From my survey of the Fourth District I am convinced that additional disaster designations will be forthcoming and I have pledged my support to the Governor's office as they move forward with additional requests.

Two weeks ago I was able to tour flooded lakes in the Fourth District with neighboring officials and business leaders.  Two of these areas, Lake Texoma and Waurika Lake have surpassed their natural water capacities.  The Waurika Lake area, for example, experienced flooded highways, dozens of road closures and harm to local businesses due to creeping floodwaters.  Local authorities shared their stories and concerns with me and have contributed an invaluable, first-hand perspective to my understanding of the hardships endured by communities and businesses during this disaster.

During both ground and aerial tours of Lake Texoma I viewed parts of the region that suffered substantial destruction of public utilities, roads, and private and personal property.  The situation in this area is decidedly grim.  The water level is twenty-five feet higher than it was at this time last year, which makes assessing the extent of the damage difficult for officials to determine until the water fully recedes to its normal capacity.  But, the damage from rainfall is not limited to the two areas I was able to visit- the situation is severe across many parts of the State.
Oklahoma has dealt with many significant natural disasters in the past.  And shortly after these hardships, a determined and triumphant spirit was built out of the aftermath.  Oklahomans from all walks of life have once again banded together to battle this flooding crisis, joining with families, friends and neighbors to get through these tough times.  I often speak of the great honor it is to represent the good people of Oklahoma's Fourth District.  I am especially inspired by their optimism and generosity of spirit during these hard times.  In the coming weeks please know that I will be working diligently on your behalf to see to it that we have the resources necessary to bounce back from this latest assault by Mother Nature.