Josh Kurtz: Another Critical Hand On Deck — Tom Perez

Suppose you’re president of the United States and a catastrophe happens — say it’s the collapse of the Francis Scott Key Bridge just outside of Baltimore after a massive container ship slams into it.

As president, you’ve got the full force and resources of the federal government to call upon to respond to the disaster: cabinet secretaries, the military, emergency agencies, independent investigators and more.

This particular calamity impacts the nation’s supply chain and its workforce, and ripples out from Baltimore to the rest of the country. You have six dead Central American immigrants who were working on the bridge in the middle of the night, patching potholes. There are thorny legal issues. And while, as a president from Delaware, you have a basic familiarity with Maryland and its political players, you may only have deep relationships with a couple of veteran officeholders but not with the full panoply of elected officials.

From a president’s point of view, every disaster needs troubleshooters, and people with expertise in critical and relevant areas, and reliable counselors who can serve as liaisons between the federal government and state and local officials.