Governor Steve Beshear's Communications Office
Gov. Beshear Calls on Kentucky’s Congressional Members to Fund Homeland Security Immediately

Press Release Date:  Wednesday, February 25, 2015  
Contact Information:  Kerri Richardson
Terry Sebastian

Failure to act endangers lives of Kentuckians

FRANKFORT, Ky. – As Kentuckians recover from a statewide snow emergency, Congress is threatening to allow funding for the U.S. Department of Homeland Security to lapse.  Governor Steve Beshear has called on each member of Kentucky’s Congressional delegation to take immediate action to approve funding for this department, as those funds also support Kentucky’s emergency preparedness in every county.

“Holding up funds for Homeland Security is a political stunt with potentially dangerous consequences,” said Gov. Beshear.  “These funds are the lifeblood of emergency management capability in Kentucky, providing much-needed equipment and training to prepare for and respond to man-made or natural disasters.  I urge our Kentucky delegation to rise above the partisan games and authorize this funding right away.”

The Kentucky Office of Homeland Security and the Kentucky Division of Emergency Management (KYEM) depend on federal preparedness funding that is provided by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). 

In federal fiscal year 2014, Kentucky received almost $9.5 million in federal preparedness funding from two primary FEMA grants.  A delay in this year’s FEMA funding may have critical impacts on the state’s emergency management operations.  KYEM provides support and training for local emergency management staff in all 120 counties in addition to maintaining the Commonwealth’s Emergency Operation Center (CEOC). The CEOC has been the coordinating center for the state’s response to the recent winter storm, managing response to needs as varied as snow removal, water delivery, and medical transports.

The lack of a budget also affects grant programs for the state’s first responder community and the Kentucky Department for Public Health for statewide training and exercise activities.  Other funds support statewide search and rescue efforts, hazardous materials response programs, and updating communication infrastructure.

“In my seven years as Governor, we’ve endured a dozen presidentially-declared natural disasters, so I take emergency response very seriously,” said Gov. Beshear.  “I hope our members in Congress do as well, because this is something that can affect the life of every Kentuckian.  The last thing Congress needs to do is play politics with public safety.  They need to find a resolution to Homeland Security funding quickly.”

A copy of the letter is attached; the same letter was delivered to each Kentucky Congressional delegate.