Louisiana Attorney General Jeff Landry welcomed his counterparts from all over the country this week for the National Association of Attorneys General 2019 Presidential Initiative Summit at the DoubleTree Hilton in Lafayette.
Landry, who is the current NAAG president, hosted the summit to discuss emergency and crisis management with local, state, and federal officials; state attorneys general; and members of private industry and non-profit organizations in attendance.
The NAAG is an association comprised of all 50 state attorneys general and the attorneys general of the U.S. territories that helps them fulfill the responsibilities of their office.
As president of the NAAG, Landry says he was able to choose the topic of emergency and crisis management for this year’s summit, which is always a timely subject given the state’s constant threat of severe weather.
“Unfortunately, Louisiana citizens are used to it,” said Landry. “I kind of call us the ‘Masters of Disaster.’ We seem to always have some problem here in the state, whether it be a hurricane or a flood. And so, we bring a lot of experience.”
Landy said he believes those in attendance could benefit from the knowledge and skills that the state’s emergency responders, including those in the Governor’s Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness, could offer them.
“Our people, especially in the GOHSEP area, the state workers that deal with emergency response, our first responders, have a tremendous amount of value to add to the rest of the nation who may not have these events happen as frequent as we do,” said Landry.
The summit addressed a range of important topics during disasters – including procurement laws, health issues, active shooter training, and maintaining communications.
The summit also featured several guest speakers including retired Maj. Gen. Mark McQueen, who is currently serving as city manager of Panama City, which was hit by Category 5 Hurricane Michael last October just four months after he started the job.
“It’s important for elected officials to always think about how to take care of their people; it’s what they do,” said McQueen. “It’s a very delicate balance of resources and time and effort to be able to make yourself resilient and ready for that storm that will come. Storms will come. It’s how you respond to those storms that define whether your community was well prepared.”