Vice President Mike Pence and a retinue of federal and state officials spoke to volunteers and visited flood victims in west Tulsa County on Tuesday to assure them the Trump administration is on the ball.
“We are with you,” Pence said during a stop at the Food Bank of Eastern Oklahoma. “And we’re going to stay with you until we rebuild bigger and better than before.”
Pence said much the same thing a little later in the Town and Country neighborhood, which was inundated last week by flood waters released from the Keystone Dam.
“We’re here because we wanted to emphasize that help is on the way,” Pence said. “Resources are available.”
Pence was accompanied by his wife Karen, Gov. Kevin Stitt and wife Sarah Stitt, Congressmen Kevin Hern and Markwayne Mullin, Tulsa Mayor G.T. Bynum, Acting Homeland Security Secretary Kevin McAleenan and Acting Federal Emergency Management Agency Administrator Pete Gaynor, among others. The federal contingent actually arrived at Tulsa International Airport in two planes, Air Force Two and a Coast Guard jet.
Proceeding by motorcade, the group first visited the Eastern Oklahoma food bank, where Pence greeted volunteers and tried his hand at packing one of the boxes distributed to disaster victims.
After a brief address and posing for photos, the motorcade proceeded to Town and Country, where Pence spent a little over an hour talking to residents.
Hern said it was important for the vice president to see the situation first hand — and to be seen.
“People think Washington D.C. is disconnected from the rest of the country,” Hern said. “This is a connection we’re trying to make. It’s important for the administration to be here, to hear these stories, and not just here but all across the country.”
Pence spent some time talking with Kristi Hill as she stood next to a mound of ruined dry wall, furnishings and appliances dragged from her house.
“I’m not all that political,” Hill said afterward, “but this does mean a lot for him to be here, and especially for our representatives to be here.”