After a report was released over the weekend indicating Gov. Bill Haslam's seeking federal disaster relief for Bradley, Greene, Hamilton & Washington counties as a result of this week's barrage of storms, Johnson Countians were left wondering why the governor chose not to visit the Doe Valley and Butler communities, where devastation is evident, and where two individuals lost their lives when a powerful EF2 tornado slammed into the region on Thursday.
According to Jason Blevins, Local EMA Director, the four counties were where the governor actually “set foot down,” & thus, they were considered the “worst spots.” Blevins reports that local damage assessment teams have submitted reports to FEMA, and “once we meet our threshold,” he expects Johnson County to be added.
Rep. Scotty Campbell immediately contacted the governor and received an email response from a spokesperson indicating “only the counties with the greatest and most obvious injuries and damage could be included in an expedited emergency under FEMA rules.”
The governor's press secretary went on to say: This is hard to understand when a person's home is gone or worse, but the law states that a county must also meet its threshold for damages under the Stafford Act. We could not include the county in the first set since it, without doubt a good thing, did not have a large number of deaths and injuries.”