July 13, 2019

Duckworth Meets with Cairo Mayor Thomas Simpson to Discuss Ongoing Issues in Alexander County


[CAIRO, IL] – U.S. Senator Tammy Duckworth (D-IL) met with Cairo Mayor Thomas Simpson to discuss how the two can work together to help the families of Cairo. Duckworth also toured the demolition sites of the Elmwood and McBride housing complexes. Photos from today’s meeting are available here.

“The best way to move Cairo forward is through a coordinated effort between federal, state and local officials focused on finding every possible way to help,” Duckworth said. “The hardworking people of Cairo deserve better than broken promises, and I look forward to working with Mayor Simpson to help find solutions that rebuild the local community, generate economic growth and hold accountable those responsible for helping to create this preventable crisis. We must do everything we can to restore hope, pride and prosperity to this historic city.”

Since being sworn into the Senate in 2017, Duckworth has worked to address the challenges faced by Alexander County Housing Authority (ACHA) residents, hold those responsible for the crisis accountable and improve the Cairo economy. Duckworth has visited Cairo several times, secured a commitment for U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Secretary Carson to visit and hear firsthand from residents and elevated the community’s needs to his attention during multiple meetings and calls, and placed a blanket hold on all HUD nominees after the agency failed to respond to her request for detailed information regarding its decision to shutter two additional AHCA facilities in Thebes, Illinois.

This week, Duckworth introduced the Get the Lead out of Assisted Housing Act of 2019 to help protect families from lead exposure. The legislation would require HUD to inspect for lead service lines, create a grant program to address lead contamination and allow a cross-check for lead in the water when remediating a home for lead found in paint.

Duckworth wrote the Creating American Investment, Redevelopment, and Opportunity (CAIRO) Task Force Act, which she introduced along with Senator Durbin to form a Cabinet-level task force to address the housing, health and economic crises in Cairo. The CAIRO Act acknowledges that HUD had a role in Cairo’s economic decline, and therefore the federal government should play an active role in its recovery and revival. The legislation requires that the task force submit a report to Congress within six months of its establishment and each year after that outlines its progress.

Duckworth also met with HUD Inspector General Nominee Rae Oliver Davis last July to discuss Illinois housing priorities and the need for greater oversight to stop preventable crises like those in Cairo and Thebes, Illinois, from happening again. Last year, Duckworth also wrote multiple letters to the HUD Inspector General urging his office to complete its investigation into fraud, waste and mismanagement by Alexander County Housing Authority officials.