Michael D. Brown

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I've overseen over 150 presidentially declared disasters. I know what I'm doing, and I think I do a pretty darn good job of it.

Michael D. Brown (born 8 November 1954) was Undersecretary of Emergency Preparedness and Response (EP&R) until 2005, a division of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), generally referred to as the director or administrator of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). He was appointed in January 2003 by President George W. Bush.


(these should be sourced and arranged by date.)

Regarding Hurricane Katrina

  • People were getting homes, jobs - everybody was getting served one way or another.
  • Unfortunately, that's going to be attributable a lot to people who did not heed the advance warnings.
  • There are few cities with so many good as New Orleans and also few cities where there is such a stark coexistence with the bad. It is this city, the Big Easy, that is home to kind and generous and Christian people . . . and yet also this city that has allowed evil to flourish in a way that has become truly dangerous.
  • I believe that by judging EPA's actions—not just our promise to do what's right, but our work in sampling and cleaning up whatever should be cleaned up—the community will recognize that we are worthy of their trust. [Correction: This quote should be attributed to Michael G. Brown of the U.S. EPA. He made the statement about EPA's on-going efforts to test for and clean up chemicals of potential concern from the collapse of the World Trade Center towers, should those chemicals be present at levels exceeding the Agency's risk threshholds.]
  • It's real important to get these dollars to local agencies to serve the area.
  • I'm going to go home and walk my dog and hug my wife, and maybe get a good Mexican meal and a stiff margarita and a full night's sleep, ... And then I'm going to go right back to FEMA and continue to do all I can to help these victims.

To a congressional inquiry into the response to Hurricane Katrina

  • I didn't have a problem with the evacuations in Mississippi or Alabama. They were doing it. Jeb Bush had already ordered evacuations through the Keys as Katrina was making its way through that area. My mistake was in recognizing that, for whatever reason that we might want to discuss later, but for whatever reason, Mayor Nagin and Governor Blanco were reticent to order a mandatory evacuation. And if I, Mike Brown, as an individual could have done something to convince them that this was the big one, and they needed to order a mandatory evacuation, I would have done it... My biggest mistake was not recognising by Saturday that Louisiana was dysfunctional.
  • I very strongly personally regret that I was unable to persuade Governor Blanco and Mayor Nagin to sit down and get over differences and work together. I just couldn't pull that off. I want this committee to know FEMA pushed forward with everything it had, every team, every asset it had, in order to help what we saw as potentially catastrophic disaster.
  • I've overseen over 150 presidentially declared disasters. I know what I'm doing, and I think I do a pretty darn good job of it.
  • FEMA doesn't evacuate communities. FEMA does not do law enforcement. FEMA does not do communications...Many may be surprised to learn that, guess what, FEMA doesn't own fire trucks. We don't own ambulances. We don't own search and rescue equipment. The people of FEMA are being tired of being beat up, and they don't deserve it.

Responding to criticism on his leadership at FEMA

  • I don't mind the negative press. Well, actually, I do, but I try to ignore it. But it is really wearing out the family.
  • This story's not about me. This story's about the worst disaster of the history of our country that stretched every government to its limit and now we have to help these victims, ... That's all I've wanted to do.
  • I'm anxious to get back to D.C. to correct all the inaccuracies and lies that are being said.
  • It is important that I leave now to avoid further distraction from the ongoing mission of FEMA.

E-mails to co-workers, during the run up to and aftermath of Hurricane Katrina

  • Can I quit now? Can I come home?
  • I'm trapped now, please rescue me.
  • Tie or not for tonight? Button-down blue shirt?
  • I got it at Nordstroms. ... Are you proud of me?
    • Responding to a compliment of his shirt
  • If you’ll look at my lovely FEMA attire you’ll really vomit. I am a fashion god.
  • Thanks for the update. Anything specific I need to do or tweak?
    • Responding to a status report of the chaos in New Orleans
  • I want us to start planning for dealing with pets. If evacuees are refusing to leave because they can’t take their pets with them, I understand that. So, we need to facilitate the evacuation of those people by figuring out a way to allow them to take their pets. Bill and Ron, this may not be an issue for you in AL and MS, but it is a huge issue in LA. Please get some sort of plan together to start handling the pets. Thanks. MB.

Quotations about Brown

External links

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