Gov. Scott Walker said today the Federal Emergency Management Agency does have a role, in cooperation with state and local government, in responding to natural disasters like Superstorm Sandy that hit the East Coast yesterday.
The question could become an issue in the last week of the presidential campaign between Republican nominee Mitt Romney and President Barack Obama. During the Republican primary, Romney said during a debate that he supported states taking on more of a role for disaster cleanup.
In a statement to national reporters, a Romney spokesman yesterday said: “As the first responders, states are in the best position to aid affected individuals and communities, and to direct resources and assistance to where they are needed most. This includes help from the federal government and FEMA.”
Walker visited a Republican campaign office in this morning to encourage supporters, so I asked him whether he thought FEMA should play a role in storm relief after an event like Sandy.
“In situations like this, I think it’s an appropriate role both in terms of preparation and reactions to natural disasters, that the federal government as well as state and local governments play a role,” Walker said. “Because we as individuals, we can’t prepare for that, we can’t handle that kind of devastation but as a government we can.”
Walker added that states should be the primary force, with FEMA and the military (National Guard) supporting them.