Today, U.S. Congressman Paul A. Gosar, D.D.S. (AZ-04) held a field hearing in Kingman, Arizona in regard to the Downwinders of Mohave County, Arizona. After the hearing, Rep. Gosar issued the following statement.
Rep. Gosar Holds Downwinders Field Hearing
"Residents of Mohave County deserve justice and equality"
KINGMAN, AZ - Today, U.S. Congressman Paul A. Gosar, D.D.S. (AZ-04) held a field hearing in Kingman, Arizona in regard to the Downwinders of Mohave County, Arizona. After the hearing, Rep. Gosar issued the following statement:
"I was moved by the emotional stories I heard today of the trauma and illnesses suffered by the Downwinders of Mohave County. It breaks my heart that they've been victimized twice by the federal government. The southern part of Mohave County was unjustly excluded from RECA compensation eligibility. It's just plain common sense that if the Arizona counties to the northeast, east and even the southeast are eligible for compensation, then all of Mohave County should be eligible. The residents of Mohave County deserve justice and equality, and I will continue to fight to bring it to them."
Downwinders are people who were exposed to downwind radioactive contamination from U.S. nuclear weapons tests in Nevada during the 1950s and 1960s and who later developed cancer or other illnesses. In 1990, Congress passed the Radiation Exposure Compensation Act (RECA) to compensate Downwinders for their suffering.
Congress subsequently amended RECA to make all of Apache, Coconino, Gila, Navajo and Yavapai counties eligible for compensation, but only the part of Mohave County north of the Grand Canyon was included. This field hearing is a continuation of Rep. Gosar's effort to make all of Mohave County eligible for compensation. He has introduced H.R.424, the Mohave County Radiation Compensation Act, to make all affected Mohave County residents eligible for RECA compensation.
At the hearing, Rep. Gosar heard a range of testimony, from expert reviews on the law and medicine to the personal stories of actual Downwinders. Witnesses included a Congressional Research Service (CRS) analyst, Mohave County officials, the Chairwoman of the Hualapai Tribe and several local residents who either developed radiation-induced cancer themselves or have family members who died from radiation-induced cancer.