Katherine McIntire Peters, Government Executive

Mar 4, 2009

President Barack Obama on Wednesday said he would nominate Craig
Fugate, an experienced first responder who now leads Florida’s division
of emergency management, to lead the Federal Emergency Management

A career firefighter in a state known for natural
disasters, Fugate has served as Florida’s state coordinating officer in
23 declared state emergencies, 11 of which were presidentially declared
disasters. “Craig has what it takes to help us improve our
preparedness, response and recovery efforts, and I can think of no one
better to lead FEMA,” Obama said.

Rich Cooper, a principal at the lobbying firm Catalyst Partners who
served as business liaison director at the Homeland Security Department
from 2003 to 2006, said in a recent interview that the days of
appointing inexperienced emergency managers to lead FEMA are long gone.

was one of several qualified emergency managers whose names were
floated in Washington as potential FEMA administrators, which Cooper
said was a sign of how seriously the Obama administration viewed the

“Everyone understands how important this position is,” said Cooper.

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