Malden Act Introduced in Congress Could Speed up Aid for Disaster Victims

Jun 16, 2021

Most of the buildings in Malden were destroyed in the Babb Road Fire on Labor Day of 2020.
Credit Doug Nadvornick/Spokane Public Radio

Wildfire aid for Malden was held up by the White House for four months. A new  bill introduced by Cathy McMorris Rodgers could change that.

Here’s an excerpt of a video the congresswoman posted to her website.

“The Malden Act would do three main things – First It requires the president to approve or deny a disaster declaration within 30 days. If the request is not denied within 30 days, it is approved.”

It would also would require FEMA to provide resources to local emergency managers to help with their recovery and prepare them for other future emergencies.

In September of last year, most of the building in the town of Malden were destroyed by fire. In the months following the fire the survivors waited for a decision on Federal aid.

Malden’s aid was held up - due to a feud between Governor Jay Inslee, and former President Donald Trump. Trump left office without making a decision on the town’s request and President Joe Biden approved it a few weeks after taking office.

Scott Hokonson, a leader in Malden’s recovery effort, said he’s hopeful other communities won’t have to wait as long as his town on help.

“It shouldn’t be who gets help on who you vote for, where you live, or anything like that, it should be, Americans get help.”

He compared the months following the fire to purgatory, saying not knowing if they would ever be able to rebuild added on to the trauma of losing their homes. He the news that Congress could act to prevent other communities from going through what Malden did, and the town’s recent progress on rebuilding, has given him hope.