• Governor Bill Haslam has not seen Memphis storm damage for himself

    By: Greg Coy

    Updated:

    MEMPHIS, Tenn. - Communities throughout Shelby County are calculating the damage to see if it reaches the threshold to apply for federal disaster relief.

    The figures will be presented to Governor Bill Haslam, who made the request for aid to Washington. At least one state leader said Governor Haslam needs to be on the ground to see the damage for himself.  

    TN State Representative John DeBerry said he has been told the governor is aware.

    "He has been appraised about what is happening here in Memphis. I know the governor well enough to know he is concerned,” said the Memphis area democrat.

    Representative Joe Towns addressed the situation Wednesday during a news conference.

    “Governor needs to come down to see his largest population base. Makes people feel safer. People need to see the man with the plan and the power. Talking to rest of community,” said Towns. 

    DeBerry said state officials from the TN Emergency Management Agency has a representative in Memphis reviewing the damage and clean up.  Memphis and Shelby County leaders are calculating the damage.

    If it exceeds $9,000,000, Shelby County could qualify for federal disaster relief.  Memphis City Council Chairman Berlin Boyd told FOX13 he is anxious to hear from Nashville.

    "I think the mayor has been in contact with the governor's office, but you have to understand the protocol. The county mayor has to declare and ask for state emergency,” said Chairman Boyd.

    DeBerry said emails and conference calls will help keep Haslam administration abreast of scope of the damage to the second largest city in the state, but truly understand the need for more state and perhaps federal assistance.

    He believes the governor needs to pay a visit to Memphis. “I think, absolutely. I think he knows that and we will see what happens,” said DeBerry.

    We contacted the governor’s office Wednesday. We were told he has no plans at this time to come to Memphis. 

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