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(Seattle, WA) – Today U.S. Senator Patty Murray (D-WA) and the other members of the Washington state Congressional delegation sent a joint letter to President Obama urging him to quickly approve federal assistance that Governor Chris Gregoire has requested to help communities in Washington recover from recent flooding. President Obama’s approval of Governor Gregoire’s request would make federal assistance available for families and individuals in Clark, King, Lewis, Mason, Pacific, Pierce, Snohomish, Thurston, and Wahkiakum counties. The Governor’s request can be amended as new assessments are completed.

The text of the letter follows:

January 22, 2009

President Barack Obama
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W.
Washington, D.C.  20500

Dear Mr. President:

We write to urge you to approve as quickly as possible the federal disaster declaration requested by Governor Chris Gregoire on January 22, 2009.

As you know, between January 7 and 9, 2009, historic rainfall across much of Washington state led to major flooding, mudslides, and avalanches.  These rains and floods come on the heels of extraordinary snows that melted and increased the magnitude of this disaster.  Major highways were closed for days after the rains, including Interstate 5, the primary north-south route between western Washington and Oregon and Interstate 90, the major east-west highway between Seattle and Spokane.  Flooding led to unprecedented evacuations in both rural and urban areas and extensive damage to homes, businesses, and infrastructure across Washington state.

Counties, communities and the state of Washington have made and are continuing to provide a robust and coordinated disaster response after what has already been an arduous winter.  However, significant federal resources will be needed to recover from a disaster of this scope.  We urge you to approve this request for a federal disaster declaration as soon as possible.

Thank you in advance for your attention to this matter.

Sincerely,

Patty Murray
United States Senator

Maria Cantwell 
United States Senator

Norm Dicks
Member of Congress 

Jim McDermott
Member of Congress

Doc Hastings
Member of Congress 

Jay Inslee
Member of Congress

Adam Smith
Member of Congress

Brian Baird                              
Member of Congress

Rick Larsen
Member of Congress                                                                                        

Cathy McMorris Rodgers                              
Member of Congress  

Dave Reichert                                                
Member of Congress