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Virginia Politics
Posted at 03:46 PM ET, 10/14/2011

Obama turns down McDonnell, will not visit earthquake-damaged Louisa County

President Obama will not visit the earthquake-damaged county of Louisa next week while in Virginia despite a request from Virginia Gov. Robert F. McDonnell.

FEMA Administrator Craig Fugate called McDonnell at about 2 p.m. Friday to inform him of the decision.
Louisa County school superintendent Deborah Pettit, left, County of Louisa Green Spring District Supervisor Richard Havasy, center, and school board member Brian Huffman survey the damage to Louis County High school after the 5.8 magnitude earthquake in Mineral, Va. Tuesday, Aug. 23, 2011. (Alex Welch - AP/Richmond Times-Dispatch)

Obama will travel to Virginia and North Carolina as part of a three-day bus tour Oct. 17-19 to discuss jobs and the economy, according to a White House official.

The White House has not released Obama’s full schedule but stops Tuesday include Emporia and Hampton. He is expected to go to the outer suburbs of Northern Virginia Wednesday.

Last week, the Federal Emergency Management Agency denied Virginia’s request for aid to help property owners affected by the 5.8-magnitude earthquake that struck the state Aug. 23. The epicenter was in tiny Mineral in Louisa County, southwest of Washington.

McDonnell, who also is chairman of the Republican Governors Association, is appealing the decision. Damage to residential property is estimated at nearly $15 million, mostly in uninsured costs.

McDonnell spokesman Tucker Martin said the governor is “extremely disappointed” with the president’s decision not to travel to Louisa.

“This is a region of the commonwealth that is in need of appropriate federal assistance in a very trying time,’’ he said. “The impacts of the August earthquake on Louisa County were severe. The governor believes the president would have gained a valuable perspective on the matter by personally witnessing the damage, and hearing directly from residents.”

McDonnell announced Friday that he will donate $5,000 from his political action committee relief efforts in Louisa — $2,500 to the Louisa Earthquake Recovery Fund, designed to help homeowners with repairs to earthquake damaged houses, and $2,500 to the Louisa County Public School Disaster Relief Fund.

By  |  03:46 PM ET, 10/14/2011

 
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