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The following is a transcript of an interview with Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson that aired...

The following is a transcript of an interview with Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson that aired Sunday, December 12, 2021, on “Face the Nation.”

MARGARET BRENNAN: And we’re going to go now to Arkansas and their Governor Asa Hutchinson, who joins us from Rogers. Good morning to you, governor. I know, I know–

MARGARET BRENNAN: I know you lost at least two people in your state, and we are sorry for your losses.
GOV. HUTCHINSON: Well, thank you, and our heart goes out to Kentucky as well, they clearly got hit in a more severe manner, probably the same tornado. We’re looking forward to having more information, but we lost one of which is a miracle that we only lost one in a nursing home in Monette, Arkansas. And there the staff did an incredible job of using their own body to shield some of the residents, and the fact that there was a warning system in place helped them to move them into the hallway that saved lives and really emphasize the importance of the early warning system, the sirens and taking action whenever you hear that.
MARGARET BRENNAN: Absolutely. I read that you have about 20,000 people without power. What is recovery and cleanup like for you right now? What do you need?
GOV. HUTCHINSON: Well, first of all, I did declare an emergency that allowed our emergency workers to move and to work extra hours and to take the steps that are necessary in the recovery. The- we did have over 20,000 out of power that has been reduced significantly. Our power companies are doing an extraordinary job of restoring electricity. But what happens now is this is a very unusual event. It’s almost like the tornado going through Arkansas picked cities along the path. Many times, they’re more rural areas. Here we hit multiple towns, causing enormous loss of homes and businesses. So, the recovery is going to be longer. I would encourage people to look at their American Red Cross. The church groups that help us in providing immediate housing, but also water. And that’s a way that everybody can help through those types of organizations that are on the scene. We’ve got to assess the damage. We’ve got to first, of course, get everybody in shelter that they need, and we’re quickly taking action on that.
MARGARET BRENNAN: I know these are early days, but do you have any kind of cost estimate for the level of damage? I know there’s that big infrastructure package and money in there coming your way. Do you know if any of it will be enough?
GOV. HUTCHINSON: It’s too early to tell on that, but we have hundreds and hundreds of homes that have been lost, businesses that have been totally destroyed. There’s going to be of course the shelter and other costs associated with it, and there’s a lot of public infrastructure that has been damaged through this from fire stations to otherwise. I talked to President Biden yesterday, he assured me that he would cut through any red tape that was necessary. They want to help in the response, and so that helps build confidence. We’ve got to make the assessment and then determine exactly what those dollar figures are, and it’s too early to tell at this point
MARGARET BRENNAN: In looking at what’s been happening in your state, you started the year with some extreme weather events and now you’re here. How do you prepare for these kinds of dramatic weather events now that you rebuild? Do you have to approach things differently?
GOV. HUTCHINSON: Well, we do. I mean, first, you look back in my administration, we’ve had the historic 500-year flood. We’ve had, of course, tornadoes. We’ve had, of course, the winter, a freezing event that caused us to lose power. And so, these extreme weather events, we’re having to spend more time and preparing for. We’re trying to build the resiliency; we’re trying to build our recovery efforts. And, you know, the infrastructure bill that was passed in Congress will help us to address some of these needs, particularly in our water infrastructure, but also our levee system and our irrigation systems that are part of our infrastructure that are damaged by these severe weather events, particularly the flooding.
MARGARET BRENNAN: Well, I know governor, the country is watching, and prayers will be sent your way by so many who are listening to you right now. Thank you, very much and good luck. We’ll be back.– 
GOV. HUTCHINSON: Thank you. 
MARGARET BRENNAN: In just one minute.

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Transcript: Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson on “Face the Nation,” December 12, 2021 appeared first on