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U.S. Senator Marsha Blackburn shares update

U.S. Senator Marsha Blackburn speaks with local officials during a recent visit to Unicoi County. (Contributed photo)

By Richard Rourk

U.S. Senator Marsha Blackburn recently sat down with The Erwin Record to discuss, among other things, the status of a second stimulus check and additional funding due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We keep trying to push our colleagues across the aisle to make a decision on the phase four deal, because we know that people would like some certainty,” Blackburn said. “Whatever we do it needs to be focused on getting people back to work and children back to school. We must provide clarity to the states so our counties will know exactly what our citizens will get. We are working to make that happen.”

During the Senator’s Aug. 13 discussion with The Erwin Record, Blackburn mentioned that the U.S. Senate was still in recess awaiting a compromise.

“We are waiting for the Democrats to go back to the negotiating table,” Blackburn said. “What they have said is they will come down a trillion dollars, which is $2.65 trillion. The problem is they do not want to have to say how they will spend that money. Tennesseans do not want anybody to have a blank check and they definitely don’t want a blank check to go to these blue states like Illinois, New York, Massachusetts and Connecticut – states that have not managed their budgets. It’s not Tennessee’s responsibility to bail them out.”

According to Blackburn, local municipalities have really pushed to get relief funding for citizens.

“Unicoi County got $13.8 million in COVID-19 relief funding – there was $1.4 million from the Paycheck Protection Program and $6.4 million from unemployment compensation,” Blackburn said. “The schools got over a half million dollars for COVID relief. Unicoi County has done well with grants and we have supported their efforts. Unicoi County got a $50,000 Community Facilities Grant and $25,000 from another Community Facilities Grant and $100,000 from ARC. That has gone well.”

Blackburn had high praise for the leadership in Unicoi County.

“Mayor (Garland “Bubba”) Evely is doing a fantastic job,” Blackburn said. “It is so important for the leaders in Unicoi County to hear from their constituents. We are in constant contact with the leaders in Unicoi County, so the more information and feedback that they receive, the better we can as a team take on their concerns. The better informed the local government is, the better the state legislation is informed; it’s all a team and the citizens are the heart of that team.”

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