The Senate voted 81-8 today to confirm Deputy Administrator Peter Gaynor to lead the Federal Emergency Management Agency.
The “no” votes came from Democratic Sens. Sherrod Brown (Ohio), Kirsten Gillibrand (N.Y.), Kamala Harris (Calif.), Bob Menendez (N.J.), Chuck Schumer (N.Y.), Debbie Stabenow (Mich.), Tom Udall (N.M.) and Chris Van Hollen (Md.).
Gaynor has served as the acting administrator of FEMA since March 9, the day after Brock Long left the agency. In May, Trump nominated Associate Administrator for the Office of Response and Recovery (ORR) Jeff Byard for the lead role, but withdrew his nomination in September. The following week, Trump nominated Gaynor.
“As Acting Administrator of FEMA throughout 2019 and into 2020, Gaynor led the agency’s recovery efforts for many devastating disasters, including the California wildfires, tornado outbreaks, severe storms, flooding in the Midwest, and the Puerto Rico earthquakes,” Acting Homeland Security Secretary Chad Wolf said in a statement. “And as Deputy Administrator for the 2018 hurricane season, Pete guided FEMA through some tremendous challenges to provide much needed assistance to disaster survivors across the country. Pete’s experience as both a state and local emergency manager, combined with more than two decades of service in the U.S. Marine Corps, have made him an invaluable leader of the agency. I look forward to continuing to work with him to support the men and women of FEMA as they carry out their incredible work.”
Gaynor was confirmed unanimously as the FEMA deputy administrator by the Senate in October 2018. He has more than 12 years of experience in emergency management at the local, state and federal levels. Gaynor served as the director of the Providence Emergency Management Agency (PEMA) & Office of Homeland Security from March 2008 to December 2014, where he was the only Certified Emergency Manager assigned as a municipal emergency manager within the state of Rhode Island.
He was appointed as the Emergency Manager for the state of Rhode Island in January of 2015, where he served until 2018. During his tenure, at both the state of Rhode Island and the Rhode Island Emergency Management Agency City of Providence, he oversaw multiple response and recovery operations as well as managing numerous federally declared disasters.
Gaynor served in the United States Marines from 1977 to 1981 and from 1986 to 2008.