Public radio from Western Michigan University 102.1 NPR News | 89.9 Classical WMUK
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Whitmer seeks a federal disaster declaration for counties affected by the May 7 tornados

Governor Gretchen Whitmer wears a light purple suit jacket over an all black button up. Golden pins and buttons also dot the coat, including one on her coat's collar that depicts the outline of the state of Michigan. She's speaking with the county sheriff, who wears an all black uniform. Behind the sheriff is Michigan Senator Sean McCann, wearing a light blue button up and dark blue pants. A crowd of other various individuals crowd the three people. A collapse tree can be seen in the background, one of the many signs of destruction left by the tornado.
Michael Symonds
Governor Gretchen Whitmer meets with local officials, including Kalamazoo County Sheriff Rick Fuller, left, and State Senator Sean McCann, second from left, at the Pavilion Estates mobile home park, May 8, 2024.

Governor Gretchen Whitmer made the request to President Joe Biden Thursday.

Whitmer sent a letter to Biden asking for the declaration along with the activation of federal assistance programs.

Whitmer said this would unlock critical financial assistance to help families and businesses rebuild.

Kalamazoo, Cass, Branch, and St. Joseph counties would be covered by the declaration.

A statement from the governor’s office quoted State Senator Sean McCann of Kalamazoo thanking Whitmer for the request. He said he hopes it will bring long-term relief to the community.

Other lawmakers also came out in support of the move, including U.S. Senator Gary Peters and U.S. Congressman Bill Huizenga.

Michael Symonds reports for WMUK through the Report for America national service program.

Report for America national service program corps member Michael Symonds joined WMUK’s staff in 2023. He covers the “rural meets metro” beat, reporting stories that link seemingly disparate parts of Southwest Michigan.