WASHINGTON, D.C. — The Senate on Tuesday approved President Trump's nomination of Peter Gaynor, the former director of Rhode Island Emergency Management Agency, to lead the Federal Emergency Management Agency.
The Senate, in a 81-to-8 vote, accepted the nomination of Gaynor, who has served as the acting administrator of FEMA since March 9.
Sen. Jack Reed, D-R.I., on the Senate floor, supported the nomination, saying, “I have known and worked with Pete Gaynor for over a decade. I know he will tap his years of experience to serve the American people well. FEMA faces extraordinary challenges and needs solid leadership. I expect that Peter Gaynor will work hard to ensure the standard is set for professionalism and compassion for the people and communities FEMA serves. I urge my colleagues to join me in voting to confirm him.”
Trump tapped Gaynor in June 2018 as deputy FEMA administrator to serve under FEMA administrator Brock Long, who resigned in February.
Politics-watcher Carl Tobias, a professor at the University of Richmond School of Law, attributed Gaynor's "smooth confirmation ... to his success when running the agency in an acting capacity, strong support from Senators [Jack] Reed and [Sheldon] Whitehouse and bipartisan Senate support."
"It is unusual for Trump executive nominees to have such overwhelming votes," Tobias said in an email.
Gov. Gina Raimondo in 2015 named Gaynor director of the Rhode Island Emergency Management Agency, a position in which he served as the state's liaison with the federal agency and local emergency management agencies. He previously served as director of the Providence Emergency Management Agency and Office of Homeland Security.
Gaynor spent more than two decades in the Marine Corps.
He holds a bachelor’s degree in history from Rhode Island College and a master’s degree in national security and strategic studies from the Naval War College in Newport.