Speeches & Floor Statements
Posted on February 6, 2008
Senator Corker and I have something that is very close to our hearts today and that is the devastation that came across our state last night from a string of tornados that was as rough and as pervasive as anything that I’ve seen in my lifetime. Most Americans saw reports of it while they were watching reports of the elections. But the trouble began in Memphis in the middle of the day with schools being closed because of tornados. It moved on to Jackson where 3,300 students at Union University barely escaped although the school was heavily damaged. Often tornados and severe weather of this type then head in one direction or the other, but this one kept going. It kept on into Middle Tennessee, into Sumner County and Macon County where there were several lives lost. It then moved on over into East Tennessee in the mountain area this morning. There is a lot of trouble in our state as a result of that, and Senator Corker and I want the people of our state to know that we have been monitoring the situation during the night. Also, our staffs are working together today, and we have talked to Governor Bredesen and to state officials and to local officials. I even spoke to the athletic director of Union University on his cell phone this morning while I was trying to reach David Dockery, the president of Union University. So for the next several days, we will be doing all that we can do from the federal level to assist the governor and local officials in dealing with the devastation that was caused last night by the severe storms. Fourty-five people were killed and more than 100 people injured, and there was a lot of damage to buildings and to areas across our state. I thank Senator Corker for taking this time on the Senate floor to allow us to express to our constituents our feelings for them, and we do want them to know that they have our full attention today. The governor is at the front of the line in responding to these terrible storms – that’s the way we do things in Tennessee. We work easily with his staff and with local officials. We will stay in touch with them, and those who need to be in touch with our Senate offices can do that. We will move promptly for applications of disaster relief. Sometimes they say that those need to be filled out accurately rather than having a race to the mailbox to get those in, but we’ll be working with local officials on those and to do all that we can do. So I thank the Senator from Tennessee, Senator Corker, for his courtesy in allowing me to express my remarks, and I look forward to working with him to help deal with the pain that has been caused to so many Tennesseans.