Cantwell Honored for Her Efforts to Improve Northern Border and Emergency Preparedness

Cantwell Receives National Emergency Management Association Congressional Award

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The National Emergency Management Association (NEMA) has recognized U.S. Senator Maria Cantwell (D-WA) for her efforts to increase northern border and emergency preparedness in Washington state. Cantwell received the organization’s Congressional Award for her support of northern border preparedness leading up to the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver, B.C., and ensuring that communities in the United States and Canada have inter-operable communications tools in order to respond to any emergencies.

“Whether it’s during a large-scale event like the 2010 Olympic games, or simply maintaining day-to-day operations, our country’s first responders are on the front lines of protecting our communities,” said Cantwell. “We must ensure that our law enforcement agencies have the technologies and tools they need to not only communicate effectively, but do their jobs effectively. I am honored to be recognized by the National Emergency Management Association, and will continue working to guarantee first responders have the support they need.”

“Senator Cantwell has not only been very responsive on emergency management issues when we call on her, and we have many times with great success, she has been proactive in advising and collaborating with us on the initiatives she has worked on for the state,” said Jim Miller, Director, Washington State Emergency Management Division. “This award is well deserved, and we look forward to our continued collaboration.”

With the start of the Winter Olympics a little more than a year away, Cantwell has worked to ensure that first responders on both sides of the border can communicate. In particular, her amendment to the Fiscal Year 2008 Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Appropriations Bill directed the Secretary of DHS and the heads of other federal agencies to review all relevant security issues related to the 2010 Vancouver Olympic and Paralympic Games, including expected increases in border flow, necessary enhancements to border security, estimated border crossing wait times, the need for additional border personnel, technical and operational challenges associated with interoperable communications, and develop a strategy to address them. Senator Cantwell followed that up in FY 2009 with an amendment to the DHS Appropriations Bill instructing the Secretary to determine how DHS was going to fund its strategy to prepare for the 2010 Olympics and Paralympics.

Cantwell has also supported increased funding for first responders and emergency management agencies.

NEMA is the association of professionals dedicated to enhancing public safety by improving the nation’s ability to prepare for, respond to and recover from all emergencies, disasters, and threats to our security. NEMA is an affiliate organization of The Council of States Governments, headquartered in Lexington, Kentucky.