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Panelist Bio


Mike Womack
Director, Mississippi Emergency Management Agency (MEMA), Mississippi

Governor Haley Barbour appointed Mike Womack Executive Director of the Mississippi Emergency Management Agency in December 2006. Womack previously served as MEMA's Deputy Director and as the agency's Response & Recovery Director.

During Hurricane Katrina, Womack was designated as the State Coordinating Officer and coordinated the state's resources as well as the massive amount of resources provided by other states through the Emergency Management Assistance Compact. He continues to serve as the Governor's Authorized Representative for the continuing Hurricane Katrina recovery.

He has also served as the State Coordinating Officer for Hurricane Ivan and as Deputy State Coordinating Officer for two additional major disaster declarations.

Womack has an extensive operations and management background and brings this knowledge to the emergency management setting. He retired in 2001 after serving 29 years in active and reserve military service as a full time Lieutenant Colonel for the Mississippi Army National Guard. During his time in the National Guard Womack developed plans and exercises in support of states mission for Emergency Response. These exercises fully incorporated the National Guard's support to civilian authorities.

Womack began his career with the Mississippi Military Department in 1985 as the senior active duty officer supervising a 1,000 man armored cavalry squadron. In 1994 he was promoted to the senior full time officer position in the 4,000 solider, 155th Armored Brigade.

Womack has received numerous awards for his military service. Among those awards is the Mississippi Magnolia Cross, which is the highest peacetime award presented by the state . He is also the recipient of multiple Army Commendation Medal awards and Meritorious Service Medal awards.

A native of Hernando, he has a Bachelor's Degree in music from the University of Mississippi and was commissioned a Second Lieutenant from Officer Candidate School at Fort Benning, Ga.

Womack is a member of the Mississippi Civil Defense/Emergency Management Association, Regional Vice President for the National Emergency Management Agency and serves on their Legislative Committee, member of the Board of Directors for the Central United States Earthquake Consortium, the National Guard Associations of Mississippi and the United States, and the United States Army Armor Association where he holds the Order of St. George, signifying significant contributions to the advancement of the Cavalry and Armor Units.

Womack is married to the former Jonie Eatwell of Hernando. The couple has a daughter, two sons and four grandchildren.

Current Topic


     02/17 - Black & the Blue

What can be done to improve trust among the police and the public they serve?
Last year’s shooting of an African-American male in Baton Rouge by two white police officers re-ignited a national debate on how law enforcement interacts with minority communities. Nationwide demonstrations were ultimately marred by the targeted ambush of 12 white officers in Dallas and the killing of three members of law enforcement in Baton Rouge. What can be done to improve trust among the police and the public they serve? How can Louisiana’s Capital City productively move beyond these events? Louisiana Public Square looks for answers on a special town hall edition, “Black & the Blue” Wednesday, February 22 at 7 p.m. on LPB HD and in New Orleans on WLAE. (Recording Monday, February 20)

Invitation, details and directions (pdf format)

Our panelists will be:
• Fr. Rick Andrus, St. Paul the Apostle Catholic Church, Together BR
• Darrell Basco, state president of Fraternal Order of Police
• Sharon Weston Broome, Mayor-President of Baton Rouge
• Rep. Ted James, D-Baton Rouge; Public Safety Task Force
• Stephanie Riegel; Greater Baton Rouge Business Report

LPB CEO Beth Courtney and Reverend Raymond Jetson, pastor of Star Hill Church host the program. Robyn Merrick with the Southern University System and Bob Mann with LSU’s Manship School will moderate the discussion.
Learn More!
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