Senator Cornyn

In Tyler, Cornyn Announces $77 Million in Relief Funding for the Region So Far

August 19, 2020

TYLER – U.S. Senator John Cornyn (R-TX) announced today at the East Texas Food Bank that various entities in Tyler so far have been allocated nearly $77,200,000 in federal coronavirus relief resources from Congress. While there he also volunteered, spending time sorting, packing, and loading boxes of food for East Texas families in need. He was hosted by Food Bank CEO Dennis Cullinane, who provided a tour and briefing about the East Texas Food Bank’s response to increased demand in East Texas during the pandemic.

Sen. Cornyn also learned about the East Texas Food Bank’s use of federal resources available through the CARES Act, which he supported in March, as well as their outstanding needs as the Senate discusses a fifth coronavirus relief bill. Mayor Martin Heines of Tyler, Judge Nathaniel Moran of Smith County, Superintendent Dr. Marty Crawford of Tyler ISD, President Dr. Juan Mejia of Tyler Junior College, President Dr. Michael Tidwell of UT Tyler, and leadership from local health care facilities also shared how they have used CARES Act grants to benefit the community.

Following the tour and volunteer opportunities, Sen. Cornyn held a socially-distanced joint press conference.

Thus far, Sen. Cornyn has worked to secure $77 million in funding for the Tyler area, including:

  • East Texas Food Bank: 3.6 million meals
  • Local Colleges & Universities: $12.6 million
    • Tyler Junior College: $7,395,647
      • Helped almost 650 displaced students with $925,000 when residence halls closed
      • Provided nearly 100 laptops, 50 webcams and microphones to students for remote learning, with more to come
    • UT Tyler: $5,194,610
      • Granted 1,401 students $2,597,305 in emergency aid
      • Reimbursed students $1,375,000 in unused housing, meal plans, and parking fees
      • Invested $200,000 in classroom technology for online classes
      • Helped local small businesses with $300,000
  • Local Governments: $12.8 million
    • Smith County: $5,383,180
      • 500 COVID-19 tests for county employees
      • 400,000 masks
      • 20,000 pairs of gloves
      • 400 face shields, 20,000 finger cots, 70 hand sanitizer stations for upcoming elections
      • 5 thermal scanners
      • 6 electronic road signs for public messaging
      • 2 walk-through metal detectors for off-site jury selection
  • Local Health Care Facilities: $40.2 million
    • CHRISTUS Trinity Mother Frances: $16.3 million
      • Purchased 3 times more isolation gowns and masks
      • Spent 534% more on exam gloves and 1,200% more on masks
      • Offset revenue lost from restrictions on elective procedures
    • UT Health Science Center at Tyler & UT Health East Texas: $11,313,794
      • Testing: 300 test kits, hundreds of reagents and testing supplies, and 10 new equipment purchases
      • ICU Facility Renovations: updated 14 ICU and 22 negative pressure rooms on campus for COVID-19 patients
      • Student Aid: Helped all students who requested aid with expenses like purchasing laptops and internet service, offsetting childcare services, and offsetting increased medical expenses
      • Protecting staff: paid salaries, funded entrance health screenings, purchased PPE
  • Tyler Airport: $1.2 million
  • Local Public Transit: $5.4 million
  • Public Schools: $5 million
    • Tyler ISD: $4,315,535
      • $2.9 million on devices to help teachers and students adjust to remote learning
      • $58,000 on outdoor WiFi at all Tyler ISD locations
      • Salaries and utilities

Participants included:

U.S. Senator John Cornyn (R-TX)

Dennis Cullinane, CEO, East Texas Food Bank

Nathaniel Moran, Judge, Smith County

Martin Heines, Mayor, City of Tyler

Chris Glenney, CEO, CHRISTUS Northeast Texas Region

Donald Baker, COO/CFO, UT Health East Texas

Dr. Marty Crawford, Superintendent, Tyler ISD

Dr. Juan Mejia, President, Tyler Junior College

Dr. Michael Tidwell, President, UT Tyler