OPENING STATEMENT
Senator James Inhofe
Nomination Hearing for Michael J. Armstrong
FEMA Associate Director for Mitigation
June 4, 1997

Thank you Mr. Chairman for holding today's nomination hearing. As the Subcommittee Chairman with jurisdiction over the Federal Emergency Management Agency, I am very interested in the Mitigation Office.

I think it is very important for FEMA to work closely with local communities and the States to develop mitigation strategies. I am concerned about the costs of our emergency response programs. I think it is important that we try to reduce the financial burden these programs place on our federal budget. The efforts FEMA is making to reduce or eliminate long-term risk from natural disasters through the mitigation program is important. However, we must be careful that the federal government works with our local governments and that the mitigation program does not become another example of big brother telling local zoning boards and planning commissions what to do.

However, based on his record, I think Mr. Armstrong is a very good candidate for this position. I am particularly encouraged by his experience in local government service. Too often bureaucrats in Washington have no idea how local governments operate, but I trust Mr. Armstrong's experience will aid him in this challenging position. I look forward to working with Mr. Armstrong and his associates at FEMA, but I hope we will be working together here in Washington and not because of something that happens in Oklahoma.