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Biden to Join KY Gov to Survey Damage  08/08 06:09

   

   WASHINGTON (AP) -- President Joe Biden and the first lady are expected to 
join Gov. Andy Beshear and his wife, Britainy, as they meet with families and 
view damage from storms that have created the worst flooding in Kentucky's 
history.

   At least 37 people have died since last month's deluge, which dropped 8 to 
10 1/2 inches of rain in only 48 hours. The National Weather Service said 
Sunday that flooding remains a threat, warning of more thunderstorms through 
Thursday.

   Monday's visit will be Biden's second to the state. He previously visited in 
December after tornadoes whipped through Kentucky, killing 77 people and 
leaving a trail of destruction.

   "I wish I could tell you why we keep getting hit here in Kentucky," Beshear 
said recently. "I wish I could tell you why areas where people may not have 
much continue to get hit and lose everything. I can't give you the why, but I 
know what we do in response to it. And the answer is everything we can. These 
are our people. Let's make sure we help them out."

   Biden has expanded federal disaster assistance to Kentucky, ensuring the 
federal government will cover the full cost of debris removal and other 
emergency measures.

   White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said the Federal Emergency 
Management Agency has provided more than $3.1 million in relief funds, and 
hundreds of rescue personnel have been deployed to help.

   The flooding came just one month after Beshear visited Mayfield to celebrate 
the completion of the first houses to be fully constructed since a tornado 
nearly wiped out the town. Three families were handed keys to their new homes 
that day, and the governor in his remarks hearkened back to a visit he had made 
in the immediate aftermath.

   "I pledged on that day that while we had been knocked down, we were not 
knocked out," Beshear said. "That we would get back up again and we would move 
forward. And six months to the day, we're not just up, we're not just standing 
on our feet, we are moving forward."

   Now more disasters are testing the state. Beshear has been to eastern 
Kentucky as many times as weather permitted since the flooding began. He's had 
daily news conferences stretching an hour to provide details including a full 
range of assistance for victims. Much like after the tornadoes, Beshear opened 
relief funds going directly to people in the beleaguered regions.

   A Democrat, Beshear narrowly defeated a Republican incumbent in 2019, and 
he's seeking a second term in 2023.

   Polling has consistently shown him with strong approval ratings from 
Kentuckians. But several prominent Republicans have entered the governor's 
race, taking turns pounding the governor for his aggressive pandemic response 
and trying to tie him to Biden and rising inflation.

   Beshear comments frequently about the toll surging inflation is taking in 
eating at Kentuckians' budgets. He avoids blaming Biden, instead pointing to 
the Russian invasion of Ukraine and supply chain bottlenecks as contributors to 
rising consumer costs.

 
 
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