NEW BRIEF – Gulf officials endorse FEMA pick

Published 11:36 pm Wednesday, April 29, 2009

The governors of Mississippi and Alabama and Louisiana’s top emergency official all endorsed the Obama administration’s choice to lead FEMA into the next hurricane season.

Speaking at a tri-state hurricane conference Wednesday in Biloxi, the officials praised the appointment of Craig Fugate as FEMA’s director. Fugate, meanwhile, appears on a fast track for Senate confirmation.

However, Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour said his state counts on local officials as the first line of defense when a hurricane strikes.

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Mark Cooper, director of Louisiana Homeland Security, agreed with Barbour that federal officials should allow more flexibility in spending of disaster mitigation funds.