RALEIGH North Carolina native Brock Long was confirmed Tuesday as the new head of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). The U.S. Senate voted 95-4 in favor of Long, who president Donald Trump nominated for the post in late April.
Long graduated from Newton-Conover High School, received his bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Appalachian State University, and lives in Hickory. He previously worked for FEMA from 2001 to 2006 as a hurricane program manager, and also has government experience as an emergency official in both Alabama and Georgia, along with work in the private sector. Long will replace the acting administrator, Bob Fenton.
“Brock brings both state and FEMA experience to the job,” former FEMA head Craig Fugate told Forbes when Long was nominated in April. “He knows the programs and challenges he faces. He is an emergency manager.”
Long did not face the criticism heaped on several other Trump nominees, including from environmentalists who backed Long in part because he preached disaster preparedness during confirmation hearings.
A White House press release following Long’s nomination underscored his qualifications for the administrator role.
“Mr. Long has more than 16 years of experience assisting and supporting local, state, and federal governments with building robust emergency management and public health preparedness programs,” the release said. “His areas of expertise include strategic emergency operations planning, exercise, evacuation, school safety, recovery management and response logistics.”
The confirmation came two days before Tropical Storm Cindy made landfall Thursday morning in Louisiana and Texas, causing flooding concerns to the region that was terrorized by Hurricane Katrina in the summer of 2005. Cindy has been blamed for one death in Alabama, which occurred when a 10-year-old boy was struck by a log carried in by an ocean wave. The storm has otherwise caused flooding, high winds and mild tornadoes.
“Brock Long is a North Carolina native who has an impressive track record, and he will bring an intimate understanding of the unique needs of our state when it comes to flood management and disaster recovery,” said Sen. Thom Tillis (R-N.C.).
Both Tillis and fellow North Carolina senator, Republican Richard Burr, voted in favor of Long’s confirmation. Four Democrats, including Sens. Cory Booker (D-N.J.) and Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), voted nay on confirming Long.
“Having strong disaster preparedness and recovery infrastructure is critically important for North Carolina,” said Burr. “Brock Long understands that it is the work done before a storm that saves lives. Helping states and cities establish emergency management plans allows funding and assistance to flow almost immediately after the storm has passed. Brock will put his wealth of experience to good use at FEMA.”