August 25, 2015

IF ONLY LOUISIANNA HAD A REPUBLICAN GOVERNOR:

One Bush gets praise for his handling of hurricanes -- including Katrina (Ed O'Keefe August 25, 2015, Washington Post)

Later, Barack Obama campaigned against Bush's poor handling of natural disasters. But as president, he hired Craig Fugate, Jeb Bush's emergency management chief, to run the beleaguered Federal Emergency Management Agency.

Bush says that if he wins the White House, he wants to keep Fugate on the job to help him again. Fugate -- who will travel with Obama to New Orleans this week to mark the 10th anniversary of Katrina -- said in an interview that he is open to sticking around.

"I learned a long time ago you never say never," he said. "Governor Bush gave me my shot and allowed me to do my job and he supported me. I could not ask for a better boss in that role."

Over two years, the storms caused hundreds of billions of dollars in damage and plunged millions of Floridians into darkness for months. Airports, businesses, highways and millions of homes had to be rebuilt. Bush spent most of his time commanding the state's response from a conference room at an emergency management operations center in Tallahassee.

"We didn't anticipate that he would be there for a couple of months, but that's kind of what happened," said Deirdre Finn, one of Bush's deputy chiefs of staff for emergency management.

Bush, a self-professed policy wonk, talked at length in the Post interview about the nitty-gritty details of storm management -- what he learned about residential building codes, how to reverse the flow of interstate highways, how gasoline is pumped into Florida, and how to open and close seaports. He noted that he was one of the first public officials in the country to lead news briefings in English and Spanish.

"I was all in and everyone who worked for me was equally all in. And we got better and we took on more than anyone could imagine," he said.

"We didn't rely on the federal government for anything, except money, which was huge, because we would have gone bankrupt," he continued.

Posted by at August 25, 2015 2:32 PM
  

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