June will be remembered by many Iowans for flooded cars, basements and fields. Republican Governor Kim Reynolds and Fred Hubbell, her Democratic challenger, have different views on the state’s flood prevention efforts.
“We’ve had over $4 billion of flood damage in our state…since 1993. I think we’ve had three 500-year floods, several 100-year floods and Republicans just won’t spend any money on flood mitigation upfront and it’s about time we start doing that,” Hubbell said yesterday as he participated in the Clear Lake 4th of July parade.
Reynolds, who also walked the Clear Lake parade route, talked separately with reporters.
“No matter what you do, it’s pretty hard to control 10 inches, 8 inches that fall in two hours so, you know, let’s not make this political,” she said.
Reynolds said the state has taken steps to prevent future flooding. She pointed to the creation of a state flood mitigation board that secured a $97 million federal grant for the State of Iowa in January of 2016.
“This is actually money that we put on the ground, into projects, making a difference,” Reynolds said. “And as I tour these flood-damaged areas, when I talk to the people — especially the emergency responders and the people that are working on it — we can already see the flood mitigation that we’ve done, that we’ve put into the ground, the results.”
Hubbell faulted Reynolds for approving a six percent to the state’s flood plain management program this year and a more than 20 percent budget reduction for the Iowa Flood Center for this year.
“The science is clearly there. We should be looking at housing codes, zoning codes, how to build and what to build in flood zones and how to make it easier for the rivers to expand without impacting so many people,” Hubbell said. “We can do it. We just aren’t spending any money upfront.”
Governor Reynolds has declared 32 Iowa counties state disaster areas due to flooding and severe weather in the month of June.
(By Bob Fisher, KGLO, Mason City)