Aug 14, 2020
Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds Press Conference Transcript August 14
Governor Kim Reynolds of Iowa held a press conference on August 14. She discussed a tornado and widespread power outages. Read her full update briefing here.
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Gov. Kim Reynolds: (06:19)
Okay, I think we’ll go ahead and get started this morning. Iowans have endured the unimaginable over the last five months, a worldwide pandemic that continues to change almost every aspect of how we live, work and interact with each other. On Monday, a massive weather event swept across the state, like nothing we’ve ever seen in recent history. Most of us had not even heard of a derecho before then, but now we know it all too well.
Gov. Kim Reynolds: (06:52)
It was basically a 40 mile wide tornado, with wind gusts up to 140 miles per hour. It lasted up to 14 hours, covering over 770 miles. That brought devastation to communities, large and small. It dealt a major blow to electrical and communication infrastructure and wiped out millions of acres of crop land, in addition to bins and structures. And it has created enduring adversity for thousands of Iowans, living without power and the ability to communicate with loved ones. On Tuesday morning, I approved a disaster declaration that immediately included Linn County, has grown to include a total of 25 counties across the state. That same day, we were on the ground in Linn County to see the damage firsthand. We had the opportunity to meet with the Linn County emergency manager, fire chief and local officials. Had the opportunity to speak with representative Zumbaugh, Donahue and Henson. Senator Mathis was also onsite. I spoke with Senator Zumbaugh as well, to assure all of them that the state was ready to assist.
Gov. Kim Reynolds: (08:07)
The destruction was indescribable. Later that evening, I had the opportunity to speak with the president by phone, updated him on the severity of the damage. And yesterday, I met with the vice-president to update him regarding the derecho. Both the president and the vice-president have pledged their support to Iowa and said that they stood ready to approve a federal disaster declaration.
Gov. Kim Reynolds: (08:32)
And I’m pleased to update you that on Monday, we will be submitting an application for a major disaster declaration that will provide public assistance, which includes financial assistance to impacted homeowners, covers repairs for critical infrastructure, which includes utilities and debris removal. I want Cedar Rapids and Linn County, and all of those that have been impacted by this natural disaster to know that the entire state of Iowa stands with you. And the full resources of state government are here to support your local recovery efforts until this community, this County and our state, our back up and running. The damage to the community and the disruption to your lives is significant and we’re making efforts to address your needs.
Gov. Kim Reynolds: (09:21)
In the hours immediately following the storm, the state and local teams were working together to ensure the highest priority needs could be met, especially for vulnerable Iowans. Ensuring hospitals, nursing homes, and other care facilities had the power they needed to maintain operations. We’re working to set up cooling shelters with charging stations to power up medical equipment, making sure that the limited number of pharmacies that remained open could fill prescriptions for their own customers, as well as help meet the need and the demands of pharmacies that had to close. We’re providing generators and the fuel to keep them up and running. While positive steps forward are helping protect the lives of those most at risk, we absolutely know that there are still many more people and families who are still waiting for help.
Gov. Kim Reynolds: (10:12)
Yesterday or last night, I had the opportunity to meet with the leaders of MidAmerican, Alliant and ITC Midwest, to discuss how we can get the lights back up for Iowans as soon as possible. This morning, I received an update that Alliant and ITC have committed to restoring power to the remaining customers by Tuesday, August 18th and power will be restored to the remaining MidAmerican customers this weekend. I’m telling you, I just spoke with them and they are committed to doing everything they can to even meet that expectation. They are working around the clock, they are bringing resources into the community, that’ll be onsite tomorrow. MidAmerican will have additional resources that both Terry and Adam have communicated, that they are able to provide to help us address the need. I’m joined today by members of my team, including-
Gov. Kim Reynolds: (11:03)
I’m joined today by members of my team, including Adjutant General Ben Corell of the Iowa National Guard, who today has deployed and has on ground 100 engineers and a civil support team that are on the grounds in Cedar Rapids and are here to support the recovery efforts for the County. Not only Cedar Rapids, but surrounding communities.
Gov. Kim Reynolds: (11:23)
I have with me, Joyce Flynn, who is the Director of Homeland Security Emergency Management who’s working closely with the Linn County emergency manager Steve O’Konek to coordinate Federal, State, local and private sector resources. I also have with me Geri Huser, who is the chair of the Iowa Utilities Board, who is working diligently, her and her team, to resolve the immediate need for power restoration and the longer term work that we’ll need to repair our utility resources. You’re going to have an opportunity to hear from each of them in just a few minutes, but first I want to recognize Mayor Hart.
Gov. Kim Reynolds: (12:04)
We were on the phone last night for his effort and that all of the city leaders throughout this week. I appreciated the phone call last night. When I arrived this morning, I did have an opportunity to tour several of the neighborhoods. And again, to see firsthand the direct blow that Cedar Rapids has sustained when the storm was probably at one of his strongest points, as it was covering the state of Iowa. It is devastating to see the widespread damage and the impact that it’s having on the lives of our families.
Gov. Kim Reynolds: (12:39)
I was really pleased to be joined on the tour and to meet this morning with a number of your area legislators, including Senator Zumbach, Representative Zumbach, Representatives Art Staed, Kirsten Running-Marquardt, thank you so much for being here, and Tracy Ehlert as well as Supervisor Rogers and Congressman Finkenauer is also here as well.
Gov. Kim Reynolds: (13:02)
Afterwards, Mayor Hart and members of his team met with my team to discuss how the state can assist with recovery. Not only now, but in the weeks and months ahead. And I assured them that the commitment is there to work together. So with that, I’d like to turn it over to Mayor Hart to say a few words. Mayor?
Mayor Hart: (13:24)
Thank you, Governor. We are living through an incredibly difficult time in our community. Large majority of Cedar Rapids residents are struggling. We’re going on our fifth day without power, hot meals and other critical resources, but our community is strong and it’s starting to come together. The city staff, the contractors, our community partners, citizens, and many others from surrounding communities and from around the state are coming together and stepping up to help our families, our neighbors, and even strangers.
Mayor Hart: (14:01)
I want to thank the Governor for responding to the request for the critical needs our community has. We had a very productive meeting today to discuss those needs and how the state can help us, and I know that aid is here and will continue to be provided. We also met with Senator Ernst this morning and are working with her on getting federal assistance.
Mayor Hart: (14:25)
We welcome all the help we can get, and we’re working hard to advocate for our community, for all that help. We are actually looking and really excited to get the help of the National Guard. They’re here now, and they’re going to continue to help. And we met today and talked about additional resources that they can bring to our community. We will recover from this. It seems hard to believe right now, but I know Alliant is working really hard on that power. When the power comes back on it will make a life a lot easier for all of us, but we do have a long road to recovery. We have to be committed to stay the course and take care of each other and we will get back. Thank you.
Gov. Kim Reynolds: (15:10)
Thanks, Mayor. And again, thanks to all the city leaders of Cedar Rapids for what you’ve done this week and what you’ll do in the weeks ahead to bring your city back. Now I’d like to invite members of my team to provide an update on the work that’s being done in their respective areas to support the storm recovery efforts. We’ll start with you, General Corell.
AG Ben Corell: (15:33)
Thanks, Governor Reynolds. Good afternoon, everyone. I spent this past week viewing the damage done across to Iowa with the Governor. As a native Iowan, I’ve seen the damage that tornadoes can do to our communities. I’ve experienced the destructive nature of floods in our state. As a long time member of the Iowa National Guard, I’ve responded to these types of events on multiple occasions. What I’ve seen this past week after Monday’s storm is something I haven’t seen in the state of Iowa before. The last time I saw this was in 2005 in the aftermath of hurricane Katrina.
AG Ben Corell: (16:07)
Yesterday afternoon, we started receiving inquiries from Linn County about obtaining support from the Iowa National Guard. Some even wondered, “Where is the Iowa National Guard?” Well, the Iowa National Guard is here and we’ve come and we’re ready to get to work. Yesterday, we initiated contact with Linn County emergency management, then we sent liaison officers to work in the Linn County EOC.
AG Ben Corell: (16:33)
This morning, our Iowa National Guard civil support team arrived in Cedar Rapids. They bring with them communication, search and rescue and medical capabilities. In addition, we have mobilized an Iowa National Guard engineer company with over 100 members who have the expertise and the equipment to assist with debris cleanup. We will continue to make assessments and have the capacity to generate additional assets to respond into Linn County or elsewhere in the state of Iowa, as needed.
AG Ben Corell: (17:02)
As I stand here today, I still have hundreds of Iowa National Guard soldiers and airmen showing up for duty at the eight test Iowa sites across the state. I have others that are diligently manning our call centers to help the Iowa Department of Public Health conduct contact tracing as we remain engaged in the fight with COVID-19. I’m proud to stand before you today and represent the men and women of the Iowa National Guard. We are here. We’re ready to get going to help Iowans, focused in Linn County on power and getting this mess cleaned up that occurred from Monday’s storm. Thank you.
Gov. Kim Reynolds: (17:44)
Thank you, General. Thanks to the men and women for their service and for being on the ground to help us move through this disaster. And next I’d like Joyce with Emergency Security Emergency Management.
Joyce Flynn: (17:57)
Thank you Governor. Good afternoon, everyone. Homeland Security continues to coordinate the state response per Iowa code to this latest disaster event. Numerous partners are social distancing at the State Emergency Operations Center to ensure an effective state response. As always, we are receiving resource requests from our local emergency management partners. They are our counterparts in the County, so Steve and I know each other well, and their role is to coordinate resource requests at the local level. So, I encourage everyone to be in touch with your local emergency manager if there are resource requests that you cannot meet locally. As you can imagine, our phones are pretty busy and that’s what we’re there for, to respond to those calls.
Joyce Flynn: (18:39)
To quickly cover a few of the resources we’ve been coordinating thus far, the Department of Transportation is offering staging areas in Cedar Rapids. They have resources out doing debris removal in several communities, and they are transporting generators. As you can imagine, DOT has a lot of transportation resources, so when we need resources moved we contact the DOT.
Joyce Flynn: (19:03)
You heard from General Corell on the resources the National Guard is providing, a key partner that is always there with us. And for my team, we are doing that resource coordination as stated. We’re looking to source generators, we’ve been providing diesel fuel for generators, we’re getting ice, shelf stable meals, and the most recent is we’re coordinating incident management team support to assist Steve here in his County EOC. Iowa Utilities Board, you’ll hear from Geri Huser. She is coordinating with the utility companies and working to make sure that the Governor has the latest information on power restoration progress. Public Health, who always has a role in every emergency, is making sure that we are getting information to those local partners about individuals who are medically dependent upon electricity. We are talking with healthcare facilities. They’re addressing pharmacy concerns. DNR is working with communities, because this debris all has to go somewhere and there’s a right way and a wrong way to do that, so DNR is working with communities. Finally, we have the volunteer Iowa group working to coordinate volunteers to assist communities with their needs throughout the state. Thank you.
Gov. Kim Reynolds: (20:17)
Thanks, Joyce. I appreciate you and your team and all the efforts working with our local emergency management professionals. Next, I’d like Geri to give us an update from the Iowa Utilities Board.
Geri Huser: (20:30)
Thank you, Governor. The Iowa Utilities Board is operating from the State Emergency Operations Center in coordination with the Governor’s office, Iowa Homeland Security, Emergency Management, state agencies, and all of the affected utilities or their associations to gather and provide information regarding restoration of power to Iowans.
Geri Huser: (20:54)
The Iowa Utilities Board issued by letter yesterday an order today directives on reporting to all affected utilities, including Alliant Energy and ITC Midwest, the transmission provider for many Iowa utilities. The order directs preparation and filing of granular data to customers utilizing social media, press releases, and other communication resources to convey re powering timelines to community leaders, residents, and businesses across the state. In addition, Governor Reynolds asked and MidAmerican Energy and other state utilities responded by offering their resources as they become available to Alliant Energy and ITC Midwest with their re powering efforts to further accelerate the restoration timeline. Information that’s filed with the Iowa Utilities Board will be available on our website. Finally, the representative …
Geri Huser: (22:03)
… available on our website. And finally, the representatives of all the affected utilities and their associations are still continuing to report to the state emergency operation center daily until all Iowans are repowered. Thank you.
Gov. Kim Reynolds: (22:21)
General Joyce and Jerry, thank you so much to you and your teams for their commitment to this effort. Finally, it’s no surprise that Iowans across the state are reaching out to ask how they can help. It’s just what we do for each other in times of need. There are several local efforts here in Lynn County to recruit volunteers, to help with everything from debris removal to food donations.
Gov. Kim Reynolds: (22:45)
In addition, too, donations are being accepted by a number of organizations that already are assisting with disaster relief, including the Greater Cedar Rapids Community Foundation. Also, the United Way, setting up a special disaster relief fund, The Red Cross is accepting monetary donations, and The Salvation Army is asking for canned food and financial donations. So, I want to thank all Iowans for your generosity and for your willingness to care for each other in times of need. And with that, we’ll go ahead and open it up for questions.
Speaker 2: (23:32)
Governor, [inaudible 00:23:33] Cedars Rapids that think that it’s been too long, the funds…
Gov. Kim Reynolds: (23:32)
Speaker 2: (23:32)
Gov. Kim Reynolds: (23:35)
They’re working on it and we’re coordinating with our local emergency management teams. And that’s really the way the disasters are set up, that the requests come from the local level, through the emergency managers, to the homeland security, and then we coordinate efforts. If that doesn’t happen, we’re stepping all over each other, there’s duplication of efforts, we’re not really delivering efficiently and effectively.
Gov. Kim Reynolds: (23:58)
We can always do better. I know they’re working on it. We had the team working late last night. We have a national guard on the ground. They’re going to continue to coordinate. Elian and ITC are doing everything they can to get the power up and going. I’ve contacted governors surrounding governors to ask if they have generators that can help power some of the stub stations. I know Oklahoma has a couple that they’re sending up.
Gov. Kim Reynolds: (24:20)
I talked to Governor Ricketts this morning. We talked about resources last day for our utility companies. As of last night, that wasn’t an issue. As of this morning, it is. And so, you’ve got people that are working around the clock. Alliance, doing a great job. They gave us an update this morning. They’ve moved their timeline up, but what we need to do is we need to get power to Iowans and to those that are affected.
Gov. Kim Reynolds: (24:42)
They’ve tried to prioritize, but I want you to know the team that’s standing behind me, your local emergency managers, your mayor, everybody, is working to make sure that we can get that done in a timely manner. I know we were working with hotels and cooling stations. There’s six in Lynn County, but none in the Cedar Rapids area. So, we’ll be working, again, with Steve and the group. We’re hoping to contract with some hotels so that we have some shelters for individuals to go to if they need assistance,
Speaker 3: (25:18)
Governor, why wait until Monday to [crosstalk 00:25:20]?
Gov. Kim Reynolds: (25:20)
Well, because there’s criteria that you have to make. So, we’ve got people doing surveillance. I asked for today, so that’s my goal. But realistically, by the time we collect the information, that’s just how long it’s going to take. Joyce, I don’t know, do you have anything to maybe talk about that timeline? But they are in the air right now, trying to do the surveillance, to get the damage, to meet the criteria that you have to meet in order to qualify for a major disaster declaration. I’ll have her walk through a little bit more of what that entails.
Joyce Flynn: (25:55)
Yes, as the governor said, there’s a lot of detailed information that needs to go into that request for a major disaster declaration, because it does bring a lot of federal resources to bear. So, we have civil air patrol planes flying the county as we speak. They’re flying several of the county areas, doing GIS mapping of debris piles because one of the things we have to do is give the federal government an idea of the magnitude of the disaster.
Joyce Flynn: (26:21)
We have estimates from utility companies, we’re verifying those, and there is detailed information that has to go into that process. My team is working on that. We’ll be working all weekend. The governor did ask if I could have this done today. It’s the only time I’ve told her no. We could not get it done this quickly, but we’re working on it. And we will have a letter prepared for her signature so she can submit that declaration on Monday.
Speaker 4: (26:54)
Once that’s submitted, how long’s it take to approve because [inaudible 00:26:55] two days [inaudible 00:26:55] so how long’s it-
Gov. Kim Reynolds: (26:56)
Yeah, and I want to tell you, two days was incredible. We had people that had worked on Joyce’s teams that has worked for Homeland for over 40 years. And he indicated in the 40 years that he’s worked at Homeland, he has never seen a presidential disaster declaration signed off on in that timeframe. I’ve already received assurance from both the president and the vice president. They stand ready to do whatever we need to do. So, as soon as I get that paperwork done, I’ll be calling them to let them know it’s on the way with every expectation that we will get that signed off on.
Gov. Kim Reynolds: (27:29)
So, if we meet the criteria, my expectation is to get that turnaround and that approval I’m hoping within the day. I’ll make a call, maybe even prior, as Joyce updates me to make sure that we can get that in Monday, but to let the team know that it’s coming. And we feel very confident that we’ll meet the criteria to qualify. And we need to get that up and going because it does bring a lot of additional resources, covers a lot of infrastructure for our utilities, debris removal, individual assistance, unemployment. It brings a lot of other resources to the table. And that’s really important right now, especially we’ve been dealing with COVID. We just have a lot of other things that we’re dealing with as well.
Speaker 5: (28:07)
Governor, did you have any authority to sign any of the state emergency plans for something like this? If not, [inaudible 00:28:16] money. How does that…
Gov. Kim Reynolds: (28:19)
Yeah, we do have some authority to do that. So, we’re looking at everything, Caroline, as we move through this, to see what the resources are right now, to see if we can maybe tweak some of the CARES funding that’s already in place, to make sure that that would be allowed. I think they spoke to Senator Ernst this morning regarding HUD funding out, adding that to their existing plan. That would open up some funding. So, she was going to start working on that, was going to reach out to Secretary Carson to see if we could get that done. I can call him later. We’ll call him later and follow up as well.
Gov. Kim Reynolds: (28:47)
So, there’s a lot of different things that we’re working at, as I indicated, or as Joyce indicated and I think Jerry also. [inaudible 00:28:54] is up and going because of COVID. And so, we have all of our resources and a lot of the different agencies working from there so that they’re coordinating and communicating and making sure that we’re taking advantage of everything that we can.
Speaker 6: (29:07)
Governor, [inaudible 00:29:08] COVID, are there any talks of reinstating any former [inaudible 00:29:12] for COVID?
Gov. Kim Reynolds: (29:13)
Well, we still have a program in place. Debbie made that available several weeks ago. There’s a lot of funds still available in that program. In fact, it really has hardly been tapped. So, there’s a lot of resources already available. In fact, one of the family members that I spoke with this morning on the tour was really concerned about that. And we have already reached out to Debbie at Economic Development, her team to contact the mom that I was talking to to get her signed up for that and help with the paperwork and the qualifications to put that in place.
Gov. Kim Reynolds: (29:47)
So, we have that available and we just need to make sure that people are aware of it. And so, as you indicated, that’s part of the problem, making sure that we’re figuring out a way to let Cedar Rapids and just Iowans know the resources that are available and that are there to help them as we move through this.
Speaker 7: (30:06)
Governor, the initial request for Cedar Rapids…
Gov. Kim Reynolds: (30:08)
I’ll come back to you.
Speaker 8: (30:10)
[inaudible 00:30:10] about the farm. I know there’s not a state program, but what do you say to the farmers who [inaudible 00:30:16]?
Gov. Kim Reynolds: (30:18)
Half probably is what we’re looking at right now. We’re talking 10 million acres that we… That’s early estimate that’s been damaged and that doesn’t include any of the bins or the structures that’s been impacted. And this is just the beginning. So, that’s about 24, 25 acres of soy and corn. So, it is about a third to a half. I talked to Secretary Nick, I talked to Senator and represented this morning. It looks like they have their own disaster relief that they can qualify through USDA. And it’s just 30% loss I believe is the criteria. And so, we’re fairly confident that they will meet that criteria with early estimates alone.
Gov. Kim Reynolds: (30:56)
In addition to that, they’re looking at some of the other things they can do with a WHIP Plus Programs to look if there’s some things that we can do with crop loss, programs on how they calculate that, maybe moving up the timeline so we’re not waiting until after harvest. So, we also were able to bring some of those suggestions to the vice president of the other day when I sat down with him.
Gov. Kim Reynolds: (31:17)
So, secretary is looking, he’s working with Secretary Perdue, the administration, to just see if we can provide some flexibility to our farmers and producers to help them get through what we’re experiencing right now. But it is unbelievable the damage that we’re seeing and how widespread it is. It’s significant, no, beyond significant.
Speaker 9: (31:40)
Cedar Rapids has made its initial request for help Monday after the storm. Could you specify what that request was for and what happens having seen the damage for you to believe that that request was met?
Gov. Kim Reynolds: (31:51)
I think what you’re referring to is they reached out to us for a disaster declaration, and that’s one of the first steps that they need to do. And that, again, has to come from the local to the state. I can’t apply that. They have to request it and then we sign off on it. And so, we did that, I think, early Tuesday morning. They were one of the first counties that were approved for the disaster declaration. I think the original was 12. We’re at 25 right now.
Gov. Kim Reynolds: (32:16)
I think counties that have qualified for the state disaster declaration, that provides individual assistance and state resources. So, that again, kicks in the state and local partnerships and helps provide individual assistance for some of the Iowans that live in the community. Do you want to talk a little bit about individual assistance?
Joyce Flynn: (32:41)
The State Individual Assistance Grant Program that the governor activated through her emergency proclamation is a grant of up to $5,000 for low income residents at, or below, 200% of the federal poverty guidelines. So, we were making sure we highlighted in this event it does cover things such as food spoilage, food replacement, and things like that. So, that program is available in, I believe…
Joyce Flynn: (33:03)
… so much, and things like that. So that program is available in, I believe, 23 of those counties because two counties did not request that. But otherwise, it is available in those counties that the governor declared.
Speaker 10: (33:11)
[inaudible 00:33:11] that right now, there’s an online application [inaudible 00:33:25].
Joyce Flynn: (33:23)
Yeah. And we’re working through all those communications methods. Steve and I were actually talking earlier, the state has an emergency notification system that Linn County participates in. And it allows us to send a text message and voice message. So we’re looking at different ways to get the word out. That program is administered by the Department of Human Services, and they will immediately get the information on their website with how to apply. But they also then, try and put people out in the communities because part of that is case management. Getting people out in the communities, so if there are communications challenges, they can still connect with people who need the resources.
Gov. Kim Reynolds: (33:59)
Will you talk about case management because [inaudible 00:34:03]?
Joyce Flynn: (34:02)
Mm-hmm (affirmative). The case management piece that comes with the Iowa [inaudible 00:34:05] Assistance Grant program is run by the Community Action agencies at each community. So here in Cedar Rapids, I’m not sure who that is, but they know, and they will be working to activate that program locally. And the case management piece is really important because it can connect them with other resources that they may need, such as, do I need someone from Iowa Legal Aid to assist with any issues? Do I need some crisis counseling? So there are a lot of other agencies that have resources, and the case management tries to connect those individuals to all those additional resources.
Speaker 11: (34:43)
What kind of help is Marshalltown going to be getting? They were getting [crosstalk 00:34:40]-
Gov. Kim Reynolds: (34:44)
Same thing. Same thing. They were impacted, in fact, when we were on the ground there, on our way back from visiting Linn County on Tuesday. Indication is, again, this is worse than the tornado that they went through two years ago because it is more widespread. Again, it’s the same thing. It’s not just a couple areas that were impacted. It is countywide. I flew into Marshalltown, the crop destruction in that county, it was countywide. I’ve never seen anything like it. So we’re waiting to see to the impact of soybeans. It depends on what stage they were in. It’s my understanding, there was some hail that preceded the winds. So that’s also causing some issues, but that’s some of the damages. And I think, we’ll learn a little bit later on to see what the cost is to that.
Speaker 12: (35:31)
A lot of school [inaudible 00:35:31] were damage [inaudible 00:35:31] significant [inaudible 00:35:48]. How does the impact [inaudible 00:35:43]?
Gov. Kim Reynolds: (35:44)
Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. So, it is. I’ve seen some pictures. We actually drove by Kennedy, I think, this morning on the tour. Actually, I’m going to be meeting with the superintendent after the press conference to sat down with her and talk about… She’s already been on the phone multiple times with Director [Lebo 00:36:03], just understanding the scope of the damage and how we can help work with them to help provide education to the students in the community. So the communication has been very good back and forth, and we’re going to continue to work with them, to help meet their needs, to make sure that our kids are getting their needs met as well. But she has been excellent. Communication has been really good. And I’m really looking forward to sitting down and visiting with her after the press conference.
Speaker 12: (36:27)
Gov. Kim Reynolds: (36:27)
Oh yeah. It’ll be completely different. So we think we’re going to do a different proclamation that will help address some of the damage that’s been done by the severe storm. So we’re going to continue like we have been, working with our school districts across the state to help them stand our schools back up and get our kids educated. So I look forward to sitting down and visiting with her.
Speaker 13: (36:49)
Governor, everywhere we go for the past three days at least, people have been asking, “Where is the National Guard?” Why [crosstalk 00:36:57] [inaudible 00:37:01]? [inaudible 00:37:01].
Gov. Kim Reynolds: (37:01)
Well, I think I’ve answered that a couple of different times, that we’ve been working with the local government officials, as the Mayor said yesterday. As your city emergency management and your local officials assess what the damage is, we need to be able to identify what that mission is that we expect the National Guard to do. The Mayor and I talked last night. I said, “We’ve got a team that’s ready. They can be on the ground tomorrow.” They had a great conversation this morning with [Alliant 00:00:37:28], in how we can follow with their members, getting the lines up. And we can have the crew following behind to get the trees cut and get the debris removed. So everybody’s doing the best that they can.
Gov. Kim Reynolds: (37:41)
Our men and women in the Guard stand ready to serve. As the general indicated, they’re on the ground. We’re moving forward. We’re coordinating efforts. We’re working with the local emergency managers and working with city officials and the Mayor. Because if you don’t coordinate that… they’re on the ground, they need to let us know how we can supplement and help them with the work that they’re doing. And that’s how we can efficiently and effectively serve the citizens and start to really address the needs of the individuals in these counties, in these communities that have been impact… And it varies, it’s different needs. And so, Marion has some needs. They’re in Linn County, and they’ll be dispersed to the various communities to help supplement and support what’s already happening with tremendous volunteers. You’ve got private sector, that’s stepping up. I know they’re talking about ways that they can go door to door.
Gov. Kim Reynolds: (38:33)
Communication continues to be an issue that we’re working on. We want to make sure that we’re getting to these individuals, assessing what the needs are, making sure that they know what programs are available to them. And so, that’s some of the efforts that the Mayor talked about. We talked about, in the meeting earlier, that we can help maybe coordinate through Volunteer Iowa or with local volunteer agencies, to see if we can continue to expedite that.
Speaker 13: (39:00)
[crosstalk 00:39:00] [ inaudible 00:39:04].
Gov. Kim Reynolds: (39:02)
We spoke last night. Is that…
Speaker 13: (39:04)
You went through the?
Gov. Kim Reynolds: (39:07)
Local EMA. Yeah. [crosstalk 00:39:11]
Joyce Flynn: (39:10)
Yeah. Just one thing to add on that too. When we-
Gov. Kim Reynolds: (39:16)
Why not stand in that position.
Joyce Flynn: (39:16)
Sorry. When we get a resource request from the local emergency manager, we have a state response plan, and that state response plan is very detailed in primary and support roles. So we know the normal things the national guard does, but they might not be the best resource. As the Governor said, “It’s identifying what is the mission you’re trying to do, and what is the best state resource to effectively and efficiently complete that mission?”
Speaker 12: (39:40)
Will there be [inaudible 00:39:42] or something?
Gov. Kim Reynolds: (39:43)
Yeah, I think the General, he indicated to me last night as well as in his remarks, that you’ve got 100 on the ground, and we have additional, if needed, depending on what the mission is. You have other men and women stand ready to support that mission.
Speaker 12: (39:55)
[inaudible 00:39:55] is that a concern? [inaudible 00:40:03]?
AG Ben Corell: (40:05)
The Civil Support Team, that is a full-time organization that we keep at the air base in Des Moines. They have many capabilities and talents. We deploy them as a team. And so, that is a capability that’s currently available. Nobody has come up and requested a search and rescue from the Iowa National Guard at this point. So we have many capabilities and that is one. But really the focus, as I mentioned, is we’ve got to get the power back up, and to do that we’ve got to clean debris. We’ve got to make it safe for the linemen to go in and do their job. And that’s really the focus at this point. All right. There’ll be other missions that come.
AG Ben Corell: (40:41)
And as the Governor mentioned and as I mentioned earlier, we have additional capability, but I don’t want to send 500 soldiers and airmen into a Linn County, if we don’t need 500 soldiers and airmen. These are citizens soldiers. They’ve got other jobs. They live in all parts of the state. And so, when we need them, we really need them, but we’ve got to validate that need before we call them and send them in. Thanks.
Speaker 14: (41:06)
We’re going to take two more questions.
Gov. Kim Reynolds: (41:06)
[inaudible 00:41:06] got one more thing to add to the…
Joyce Flynn: (41:06)
And I was just going to acknowledge Chief Smith back here. When you mentioned search and rescue, you are standing in the Eastern Iowa division of the statewide Urban Search and Rescue team. They actually utilize the capability that has been built by the state. And they’re good enough to be stewards of that resource for us. They can utilize that resource any day they want and need to. And Chief Smith did utilize the Urban Search and Rescue team in the first days, to make sure that there was no need for removing people from trapped in buildings. So just wanted to highlight that resource.
Speaker 14: (41:39)
Two more questions.
Speaker 11: (41:39)
Tuesday [inaudible 00:41:41].
Gov. Kim Reynolds: (41:45)
Do I have somebody from Alliant? Tuesday [inaudible 00:00:41:51]. That was the commitment that they just made to the Mayor and the team and to myself. And when we met yesterday, they said, “We’re going back to the drawing board. We’re going to work collectively and do everything within our power to get Iowans’ power back up.” And it may be temporary, but it will allow them to get power back, so that they can continue to work on it. What I mean temporary, until they can continue to get a permanent fix. There’s some significant structural damage that’s been done, but we need to get power back to Iowans. That’s the number one priority that and communications. And I just said they are working diligently to get that done. And I appreciate the efforts and the commitment. That’s quite a bit of movement from where we were the other day, to help get the power back to Iowans, and I appreciate that.
Speaker 12: (42:35)
Can you just clarify that the help we get from Alliant [inaudible 00:42:41] yesterday [crosstalk 00:42:46]-
Joyce Flynn: (42:40)
Is that correct? Yep. Yep. Yep. Based on the meeting last night, and we’ve been working together today, so I’m just getting additional resources, I think too. So thank you.
Speaker 14: (42:50)