Congressmen Brace for Flooding

Congressmen whose districts border the Mississippi River are bracing for floods as tides that have ravaged Iowa and Minnesota in the past week start to head south.

Rep. Phil Hare (D-Ill.) met with volunteers today in his western Illinois district, holding a press conference with Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) and local officials to address the threat.

Rep. Kenny Hulshof (R-Mo.), whose district borders Hare's across the river, is preparing a front-page section of his website to give constituents up-to-date information on the flooding, an idea his office got from Rep. Dave Loebsack (D-Iowa), according to Hulshof Legislative Director Aaron Smith.

Hulshof, who maintains a farm eight miles from the river, has a staffer in contact with the Army Corps of Engineers and the Federal Emergency Management Association, Smith said.

Towns along the Mississippi in northern Illinois and Missouri have already seen major flooding as water levels continue to rise. The National Weather Service has issued flood warnings along the Mississippi as far south as Tennessee.

Rep. Jerry Costello (R-Ill.) is taking similar precautions. He is in contact with the Corps, state and local officials, and the rest of the Illinois congressional delegation to monitor flooding, a spokesman said.

Representatives whose districts border the river typically share information when floods come, Smith said. "We all help each other out especially in these times," he said, citing Hare, Costello, Loebsack, Rep. Bruce Braley (D-Iowa), and Rep. John Shimkus (R-Ill.), among others.