Flooded, But Not Fearful

June 17, 2019
Weekly Columns

There’s no denying it: these have been hard weeks for Arkansas. I’ve traveled all along the Arkansas River to assess flood damage, speak with the Arkansas National Guard and lend a helping hand to struggling communities, but the work is just beginning. Our state leadership and first responders have done an incredible job providing immediate relief on the ground, and President Trump’s emergency declaration allowed the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to aid the most affected counties.

However, as flood waters begin receding and national media attention turns elsewhere, I know many people are asking the question, “What happens now?” Flooded farmland and businesses are more than a news headline; they’re entire livelihoods.

I hope to use my influence in Congress and as the lead Republican on the Water Resources Subcommittee to address some of the infrastructure issues that are present on the McClellan-Kerr Arkansas River Navigation System (MKARNS). The levees, dams and water control equipment along the Arkansas River are old and in need of maintenance, repairs and upgrades to handle future events. Although navigable waterways are typically out of sight and out of mind, I believe we must make necessary infrastructure investments to fix root issues instead of just patching up problems as we go along.

That’s my long-term goal, but at present I know many of you were evacuated, lost your homes and crops, or watched floodwaters devastate your community. I encourage you to call my main district office at (501) 609-9796 to see how I or my staff can help you. I continue to be in close contact with Governor Hutchinson, the Arkansas National Guard and others as part of an all-hands-on-deck approach to flood relief.

I’ve seen communities rallying together in their time of need, and that’s what makes me proud to be an Arkansan. We will emerge from this stronger than ever before.