Members of the Republican Party in Sioux City say President Barack Obama’s visit to Sioux City today is coming one year too late. City Councilman Keith Radig says it is an honor to have the president come visit Sioux City and speak at his alma mater Morningside College, but Radig says the president ignored a request to survey last summer’s damage from the Missouri River flooding.

Radig says five Missouri Congressmen sent a letter asking the president to come to western Iowa, but the president instead held a campaign event on the eastern side of the state to hold a political rally. Radig says the only reason the president is coming to the area now is that he needs votes.

“You could kind of describe Obama as a fair weathered friend, he’s one that’s only there when he needs something from you. But when we needed his leadership, he was nowhere to be found. In the midwest we are hardworking and determined. We are tired of struggling due to the Obama policies,” Radig says.

Radig spoke at “Bev’s on the River,” a restaurant which was closed for four months last summer and surrounded by a 20 foot dike and a wall of sandbags during the Missouri River flood. Dick Salem, a commercial realtor who is running as a Republican for a position on the Woodbury County Board of Supervisors, says many other businesses were closed for months by the flood.

“Businesses just shut down for about four months at least,” Salem says. “It was a very sobering situation. We could have used the President of the United States to help at the time and to be here at least for moral support if nothing else.”

Salem says many residents complained that the federal aid from FEMA was inadequate and many people drained their savings to repair or replace their homes and businesses. President Obama hasn’t been to Sioux City since 2008 when he campaigned before the Iowa Caucuses.

By Woody Gottburg, KSCJ, Sioux City