Environmental Protection Agency Nominee Gina McCarthy Inspires Massachusetts Pride

This morning, Gina McCarthy sat before the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works (EPW), poised to field their questions and secure their seal of approval as the next administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency.

I sat a few rows behind her, beaming with Massachusetts pride.  Before moving to DC a couple of months ago, I had only ever resided in my home state, and as I frequently tell people: “Massachusetts is not an easy place to leave.”  I grew up on the beach and went to school in the mountains.  I enjoyed four seasons, lively sports, and model politics.  As did Ms. McCarthy, I appreciated the acclaimed public university system that our state has to offer.  Today, as I watched MA Senators Warren and Cowan introduce President Obama’s widely supported nominee, I enjoyed that unique inspiration that can only come from the renowned accomplishments of someone who shares your roots.

Gina McCarthy, nominee to lead the Environmental Protection Agency
I knew going into the hearing that Gina McCarthy touts a seriously impressive resume, and I left the hearing with all of my original confidence intact.  I have no doubt that her decades working with Democrats, Republicans, and Independents at the local, state, and federal levels will prove to deliver a leader that understands how to address every part of a systemic challenge.

Repeatedly commended for her pragmatism and common sense, McCarthy carries a set of qualities that appeal to everyone who sits across from her.  She reiterated her intentions, which have evidently guided her through much of her career: to act with integrity to the law and to science, and to keep an open door for all who are ready to work with her.  Upon the hearing’s question and answer segment, Ms. McCarthy proceeded to please those who supported her.  She addressed patiently and thoroughly any points of skepticism.

When it comes to the tasks our next EPA Administrator will face, Gina McCarthy is clearly a woman who gets it—all of it.  She speaks comprehensively of the overlapping needs to create jobs, protect people from environmental health threats, and respond to the overwhelming science of climate change.

McCarthy states with commanding simplicity that environmental protection is not a partisan issue, and her track record represents her confidence in partnering with officials on both sides of the aisle.   Her regulatory background reflects that she does not regard clean air and clean water as matters to compromise on.  She calls for accountability and expects others to require the same of her.  The severity of climate change demands that everyone accepts responsibility for their piece of the solution, and in Gina McCarthy we have an example.

Overall, Gina McCarthy’s hearing was just the event most had anticipated.  But as I walked off the Hill today, I noticed an extra skip in my step—and it came from more than the view of the Capitol, the 80 degree weather, or the shower of fluttering cherry blossom petals that surrounded me.  My skip was one of invigorated optimism, both for the future of environmental policy and in the leadership that will bring it to fruition.  I felt a motivating connectedness to a something that really worked.  During Senator Warren’s introduction, she called Gina McCarthy a “talented and hard-working daughter of Massachusetts.”  She and Senator Cowan spoke of President Obama’s nominee with more than approval.  They spoke of her with pride.  In camaraderie, I hurried back to my desk to do the same.