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Homeland Security

Secretary Napolitano Appoints Janet Woodka as Gulf Coast Rebuilding Coordinator

Release Date: 
March 31, 2009

For Immediate Release
Office of the Press Secretary
Contact: 202-282-8010

U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary Janet Napolitano announced today the appointment of disaster recovery veteran Janet L. Woodka, following the selection of Woodka by President Obama to be the Federal Coordinator of Rebuilding in the Gulf Coast Region. The appointment comes as part of the Obama Administration's ongoing commitment to improving federal, state and local coordination on Gulf Coast renewal efforts.

"Janet brings critical firsthand experience and knowledge to the Gulf Coast that will enable her to get to work right away," said Secretary Napolitano. "She has a long history in this region, and I know she will make great progress in coordinating recovery efforts between local, state and federal officials."

One of President Obama's first acts after taking office was to extend the Federal Coordinator's office through the end of the current fiscal year. The office was created on Nov. 1, 2005 by Executive Order 13390 in response to the devastating effects of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita in 2004. The Federal Coordinator maintains offices in Washington and New Orleans.

Prior to her appointment, Woodka served as the Director of Legislative Affairs for the two most-recent Federal Coordinators. Previously, she was Legislative Director to Senator Mary Landrieu of Louisiana, during which time she was the lead staffer for the Domenici-Landrieu Gulf of Mexico Energy Security Act, which provided Gulf Coast states with a share of oil and gas revenues. Woodka comes to DHS as a former resident of both New Orleans and Pensacola, Fla. She has been engaged on Gulf Coast recovery issues from the first days after Hurricane Katrina made landfall, assisting on energy infrastructure projects.

The Federal Coordinator is independent from Federal Emergency Management Agency and reports directly to Secretary Napolitano. Woodka will also have a direct line of communication to the White House.

As Federal Coordinator, Woodka will be responsible for identifying long-term rebuilding needs by working directly with state and local authorities to communicate priorities to Washington. The office holds a wide range of charges, including supporting small business through disaster loans and other relief; rebuilding homes while creating safer, more responsible building codes; restoring and protecting the environment; and building better, stronger levees, among many others.

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