Jennifer Granholm to Lead Energy Dept: “My Commitment to Clean Energy Was Forged in Fire”

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In his newest round of Cabinet nominations, President-Elect Joe Biden selected former Michigan governor Jennifer Granholm as the next secretary of energy. She spoke alongside fellow climate and energy appointees on Saturday, Dec. 19 to accept the role in Biden’s historic Cabinet:

“My commitment to clean energy was forged in the fire,” Granholm said, reflecting on the important role that clean energy played in restoring Michigan’s economy after the 2008 recession. “The path to building back better starts with building and deploying those products here, stamping them ‘Made in America,’ and exporting them around the world.

“We can win those jobs for American workers with the right policy. We can, and I know what those jobs will mean for both the planet and for those workers and families.”

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She discussed her parents’ experiences working their way up in the American labor market, having immigrated from Canada when Granholm was four years old:

“And it’s because of my family’s journey and my experience in fighting for hardworking Michigan families that I have become obsessed, obsessed with creating good paying jobs in America, in a global economy, obsessed with seizing the opportunities that a clean energy future will provide for American workers. So we can stand on the sidelines and let other countries beat us to these opportunities, or we can get in the game.”

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As the first woman governor of Michigan, Granholm worked with the Obama administration to preserve countless jobs that could have otherwise been lost in the Great Recession. Part of this initiative involved bolstering jobs in the clear energy sector, which served as an example for other state governments.

She had previously served as the first woman attorney general of Michigan, and founded the American Jobs Project to champion clean energy innovations and supporting policy. 

“Governor Granholm is just like the state she’s led so efficiently and effectively for eight years, hard-working, resilient, and forward-thinking, someone not only capable of solving urgent problems, but someone who sees the opportunities of the future, and always, always with her eyes on the needs and aspirations of working people,” Biden said. “Now I am asking her to bring that vision and faith in America to the Department of Energy.”

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Sophie Dorf-Kamienny is a junior at Tufts University studying sociology and community health. She is a Ms. contributing writer, and was formerly an editorial fellow, research fellow and assistant editor of social media. You can find her on Twitter at @sophie_dk_.