Statement of Senator Allard
Nomination of Michael Armstrong to FEMA
June 4, 1997

I am pleased to introduce Mr. Michael Armstrong to be the Associate Director for Mitigation at the Federal Emergency Management Agency. I hope that we act quickly on his nomination, not only because I believe he is well qualified, but we don't want to give him any chance to change his mind, understanding the nature of that job.

I would just say that the relationship that I've had with Mr. Armstrong has been a good relationship. I wouldn't say that I know him personally, and because I don't have a real strong personal knowledge of him, I can say that I've had to rely more on what people have told me about Michael Armstrong. And I think because I've relied a lot on what people have told me about his performance, I think I've got a pretty good feeling of what he will do as Associate Director.

There are many local officials that we have talked to, and the local officials who have worked with him in times of great need and stress have all complimented him on his ability to work with them. What I have learned is that as Director of FEMA's Region VIII, he has worked diligently to ensure that when FEMA services are needed, they are prepared. This has been more than demonstrated by Region VIII's effort to assist flood victims in North and South Dakota.

Also, Mr. Armstrong has shown a strong ability to work with local communities and locally elected officials. Under his watch Region VIII has been cited as a center of excellence for developing national policy for community relations and outreach. The ability to work well with local communities and officials is no doubt due to Mr. Armstrong's long services as Assistant City Attorney in Aurora, Colorado. Working in this capacity it is obvious he learned that communication between all levels of government is important to achieving an optimal result.

After meeting with Mr. Armstrong I am certain that he wants FEMA to move in a commonsense direction. As Associate Director of Mitigation at FEMA, I am certain that he will continue to work on breaking the disaster recovery disaster cycle.

Furthermore, I believe he has some ideas on how individuals and local governments can become less reliant on the Federal Government through mitigation. He also understands the complex nature of how natural resources and economic concerns interplay in the west and throughout the Nation as a whole.

Mr. Chairman, I'm no expert on emergency response efforts for mitigation as it applies to FEMA's mission. However, I do know that we need experts with Mr. Armstrong's proven record and willingness to listen.

Finally, I hope that today's confirmation doesn't end our involvement with FEMA. Oversight of the work of this important agency would be very valuable, as would a discussion on how the Federal Government budgets, or doesn't budget, for disasters.

Welcome, Mr. Armstrong.