03/04/2009

Obama taps Fugate to head FEMA

The Associated Press

WASHINGTON — President Barack Obama says he plans to name Florida's state emergency director to lead the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

Craig Fugate was named by Obama in a statement issued by the White House Wednesday.

The administration of Obama's predecessor, George W. Bush, was criticized for its response to Hurricane Katrina, which devastated New Orleans and much of the surrounding area in 2005.

Fugate has been praised for his efforts steering Florida through numerous hurricanes in the past decade. He has been director of Florida's Division of Emergency Management since 2001 and was the agency's assistant director for nearly five years before that.

Obama says Fugate will travel with Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano to the Gulf Coast on Thursday to meet with local officials still struggling to recover from Katrina.

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