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WV leaders loud on Trump but quiet on flood resiliency, coal community priorities

By Mike Tony, Charleston Gazette-Mail

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — As Jenkins, Kentucky, flooded in July 2022, Mayor Todd DePriest found himself assuming the role of a scrambled case worker.

“We were trying to put lists together of who needed, what, where and when,” DePriest said.

He recalled the response of his city of 2,000 when flooding devastated Eastern Kentucky in 2022.

He brought those memories back during a virtual news conference Thursday urging Congress to embrace a flood resilience policy platform backed by over three dozen Appalachian community, labor and environmental advocacy groups.

Preparing better for floods

Citing federally declared flooding disasters across especially flood-prone West Virginia and five other Appalachian states, advocates pleaded with Congress to back the platform calling for provisions to improve flood mapping, make funds available more rapidly after disasters and increase flood disaster coordination programming.

“I really support everything that is in this platform to make it easier on especially smaller communities like ours, that struggle day to day just to keep up the services that people need to begin with,” DePriest said during Thursday’s news conference.

A wide range of West Virginia advocacy groups backed the platform and signed an April letter to congressional leaders pleading for funding to back flood resiliency and other coal community and worker protections.

Nevertheless, West Virginia’s congressional delegation and 2024 U.S. Senate front-runner had little to say about whether they support the groups’ priorities Thursday.

But they had a lot to say about Donald Trump.

After their spokespeople didn’t respond to or were noncommittal on the advocates’ calls to action following requests for comment Thursday, West Virginia congressional delegates and 2024 candidates spent Thursday evening and Friday defending the former president and presumptive 2024 Republican presidential nominee after a New York jury found him guilty of all 34 charges in a scheme to illegally influence the 2016 election.

Read more: https://www.wvgazettemail.com/news/politics/wv-leaders-loud-on-trump-but-quiet-on-flood-resiliency-coal-community-priorities/article_85f94203-a860-5f73-b006-3d1aee6f7e4d.html

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