Local and state leaders took U.S. Sen. Mark Kirk (R-Ill.) around tornado-ravaged Washington, Ill. Tuesday afternoon, adding the senator, hobbled by a stroke almost two years ago, even got out and walked.
Kirk, saying photographs do not do justice to the damage, insisted help will be on the way.
“We’ve got to make sure the FEMA accounts all have enough money, and that’s my job when I get back to Washington,” Kirk said. “We’ve got to make sure there is no partisan rancor that causes government shutdown.”
Mayor Gary Manier struck a defiant note.
“I don’t want to celebrate a one-year anniversary of the tornado,” he said. “I want to celebrate (a one-year) anniversary of what we’ve accomplished in that year. You’re going to see construction event yet this week, and if I see a house framed, I think that’s going to send a message to our residents: we are going to rebuild, and we’re not going to let this thing kick us in the teeth anymore.”
Damage to Washington is extensive; described as up to a half-mile wide from one end of town to the other. One rural resident nearby died in the Nov. 17 disaster.