Trump taps FEMA official to lead agency

President TrumpDonald John TrumpStates slashed 4,400 environmental agency jobs in past decade: study Biden hammers Trump over video of world leaders mocking him Iran building hidden arsenal of short-range ballistic missiles in Iraq: report MORE on Friday nominated Jeffrey Byard to lead the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) after the previous administrator Brock Long resigned this week.

Byard, who currently serves as FEMA's associate administrator for Response and Recovery, is the agency's most senior employee overseeing disaster response, recovery, logistics and field operations.

Prior to joining FEMA, he worked for the Alabama Emergency Management Agency and led several high-profile operations, including the state evacuation during Hurricane Gustav and response and recovery operations following the Deep Water Horizon Oil Spill.

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Should he be confirmed, Byard would succeed Long, who resigned Wednesday after a tenure marked by ethics probes and questions surrounding his handling of a deadly hurricane in Puerto Rico. Long said in a statement Wednesday he was resigning to spend more time with family in North Carolina.

“While this has been the opportunity of the lifetime, it is time for me to go home to my family — my beautiful wife and two incredible boys,” he said. “As a career emergency management professional, I could not be prouder to have worked alongside the devoted, hardworking men and women of FEMA for the past two years.”

Long was dogged by questions over FEMA’s response to a hurricane that killed almost 3,000 people in Puerto Rico and his personal use of government vehicles to shuttle back and forth from Washington to North Carolina. He also oversaw federal responses to several natural disasters, including a series of destructive hurricanes that struck Puerto Rico, Texas, Florida and much of the Southeast and historic wildfires in California.

“Over the last two years, Administrator Long has admirably led the men and women of FEMA during very difficult, historic and complex times,” Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen NielsenKirstjen Michele NielsenTrump puts Kushner in charge of overseeing border wall construction: report Hillicon Valley: Google to limit political ad targeting | Senators scrutinize self-driving car safety | Trump to 'look at' Apple tariff exemption | Progressive lawmakers call for surveillance reforms | House panel advances telecom bills Minority lawmakers call out Google for hiring former Trump DHS official MORE, who oversees FEMA, said Wednesday. “I appreciate his tireless dedication to FEMA and his commitment to fostering a culture of preparedness across the nation.”