NCEMA Executive Committee Leadership traveled to Washington, DC in early May 2019 for two days of meetings with the Congressional delegation from North Carolina. NCEMA leadership met with members or staff from every office except the two vacant House districts of 3 and 9. Representing the Association were: President – Karyn Yaussy (Catawba County), Vice Presidents – Brent Fisher (Nash County) and Mary Beth Newns (Currituck County), and Legislative Committee Chair – Brian Short (Vance County).
The purpose was to discuss the critical role of emergency management across the state and familiarize them with the similarities and differences between local, state and federal emergency management and how emergency management in government, private industry, non-profits, healthcare, military and universities dovetails together to prepare, respond and recover from all types of hazards.
In every office, NCEMA leadership discussed the importance of maintaining current levels of federal appropriations for the Emergency Management Performance Grant and Homeland Security Grant Program. They shared that the announcement to defund the Urban Area Security Initiative in the Charlotte Region was a major blow to North Carolina. Changes to these three grants, which have been recommended by the President to fund border security initiatives, would be damaging to community safety and security across North Carolina. Senator Burr and Representative Price were especially engaged in this conversation and many staff people took detailed notes during the conversation. Members of the House and the Senate, from both parties expressed doubt that much of the President’s budget request would make it into the Congressional Budget markup.
Congressional offices also wanted to discuss the Supplemental Disaster Appropriation (Hurricane Florence) that would be on the House floor for another vote two days after our meetings concluded and get our thoughts on the importance of the vote and the appropriation.
It was a productive trip and the leadership left DC with more thoughts about the federal budget process and what our members of Congress need to know about emergency management in North Carolina. You are urged to look at the calendar for your district representative and schedule an appointment the next time they are in your district. Many of the representatives mentioned how important it is to them to know who their local emergency managers are and to build on that relationship.