Oklahoma native heads federal response to Hurricane Katrina

Saturday, September 3rd 2005, 10:56 am
By: News On 6

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) _ An Oklahoma native is charged with coordinating the federal rescue effort and providing relief for thousands of victims of Hurricane Katrina.

Guymon native Michael D. Brown is the head of the Federal Emergency Management Agency and the undersecretary of homeland security for emergency preparedness and response.

A graduate of Guymon High School, Brown received his undergraduate degree in public administration and political science at Central State University in Edmond and his law degree at Oklahoma City University in 1981.

After graduating from Central State, now the University of Central Oklahoma, he worked briefly as an assistant city manager in Edmond.

``He was young and energetic and always had some neat ideas,'' said Bob Schiermeyer, Edmond's planning director, who worked with Brown during a period of explosive growth in Edmond in the late 1970s. ``I was always impressed. He was just a dynamic kind of person.''

Brown worked as an adjunct professor at Oklahoma City University and practiced law in Colorado and Oklahoma. He also worked for the supreme court in both states.

In January 2003, President Bush tapped Brown as the nation's first Undersecretary of Emergency Preparedness and Response in the newly created Department of Homeland Security.

As head of FEMA, which falls under the department's oversight, Brown now is responsible for leading federal disaster response and recovery operations for one of the nation's worst natural disasters in modern history.

``The priority at this time is to meet the immediate life saving and life sustaining needs of victims in the impacted areas,'' Brown said in a statement. ``FEMA, along with other federal partners and state governments, is coordinating a massive mobilization of resources for urban search and rescue efforts, housing, food and medical care.''