Wilson Center Experts
Rachel Racusen has worked in political communications in both the public and private sectors, including in the U.S. House of Representatives and on congressional campaigns. She came to FEMA in May 2010 from the House Education and Labor Committee on Capitol Hill, where she served as the committee’s Communications Director. In her current role at FEMA, she oversees the agency’s national press office and strategy, including all external and internal communications. Among many other disasters, during her time at FEMA, she has developed and executed the press strategy for the five-year anniversary of Hurricane Katrina, for the deadly tornadoes that struck the southeast and Midwest last spring, and for Hurricane Irene.
During her tenure with the committee, she developed, executed and oversaw the press and communications strategies for key pieces of legislation, including the first increase in the federal minimum wage in over 10 years, the Edward M. Kennedy Serve America Act, the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, laws that rooted out conflicts of interest in the federal student loan programs, the largest increase in federal student aid to help families pay for college since the GI Bill and the historic health reform law signed by President Obama in early 2010.