Reporting Pat Kessler
ST. PAUL (WCCO) — Top Minnesota lawmakers say they are putting aside politics to deal with severe flooding in northern Minnesota.
Gov. Mark Dayton announced a special session to deal only with disaster relief.
Dayton and Republican leaders have agreed to call a special session during the last two weeks of August to send flood relief to Duluth and northeastern Minnesota.
The entire region was shocked last month by widespread flooding that caused hundreds of millions of dollars in damage.
Many residents are just now returning to their homes to find extensives losses.
Roads and bridges are washed out — debris is everywhere.
Dayton and top leaders say the session could quickly send immediate aid to homeowners and to local governments.
“Living their lives, doing everything right and then suddenly out of the totally unaware, something happens that hasnt happened in at least a century,” Dayton said. “Dealing with the consequences of that — the psychic shock, as well as the financial impact is — just what it does to communities, as well as a lot of elderly people.”
The governor said he would have liked to call a special session sooner, but the state needs to wait for FEMA to complete its damages assessments.
Whenever the session is held, it will last only one day and everyone has agreed that no other issue will be allowed other than disaster relief.
The House Speaker said the flood did not distinguish between Democrats and Republicans.
“It washed out homes. It washed out roads. It washed out bridges. It didnt care if you were a democrat or republican or apolitical,” said Rep. Kurt Zellers. “The fury of nature took out a lot of homes, a lot of businesses, a lot of infrastructure. It’s very important to Minnesotans and very important to us that it not only is repaired, but safe for people to go back to work and go back to that home.”