CAIRO, IL – U.S. Senators Tammy Duckworth (D-IL) and Dick Durbin (D-IL) today announced a $25,000 federal grant from the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Office of Rural Development to support the purchase of equipment necessary for improvements in Cairo and throughout Alexander County. This funding will be used to acquire a truck for emergency services that will improve response times.

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“This grant will help ensure that the people of Alexander County don’t need to rely solely on volunteers to transport their equipment,” said Senator Duckworth. “Speaking with residents a few weeks ago, they expressed disappointment with the lack of investment in and overall neglect of their community. Senator Durbin and I will continue working to build momentum towards the better Cairo that the optimism, hard work and resilience of its people deserve.”

“This federal funding will allow Alexander County to improve emergency response times and better serve its residents in Cairo and other communities across the county,” said Durbin. “I will continue working with Senator Duckworth to ensure that our state’s rural communities have access to the critical federal investments that drive economic growth.”

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"We are tickled to death to receive this much needed grant for emergency services for Alexander County,” said County Board Chairman Chalen Tatum. “It is greatly appreciated."

Senator Duckworth visited Cairo earlier this month to meet with local officials, tour the city and hear directly from residents of the Elmwood and McBride housing developments. Since being sworn into the Senate this January, she has worked to address the challenges faced by residents of these facilities, hold those responsible for this crisis accountable and improve the Cairo economy.

At their meeting with Duckworth, Cairo residents expressed frustration that federal officials were eager to visit and document their time in Alexander County without bringing actual resources to the area. This grant is a concrete example of the federal support needed in the community and that residents have long asked for.

The USDA Office of Rural Development Economic Impact Initiative grant program provides funding to assist in the development of essential community resources in rural communities with extreme unemployment and severe economic depression.

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