It was her first press conference and Gov. Maura Healey on Friday declared that Massachusetts was the first state in the nation to bring a climate chief on board. But if the idea had a familiar ring, you are not wrong.
President Joe Biden in January 2021 issued an executive order launching the White House Office of Domestic Climate Policy, which worked to centralize his administration’s climate work, and the National Climate Task Force, which convened “leaders from across 21 federal agencies and departments to enable a whole-of-government approach,” according to a fact sheet. Biden’s first-ever national climate advisor, Gina McCarthy, previously worked in Massachusetts environmental affairs.
Healey’s executive order tasks Cabinet-level climate chief Melissa Hoffer with working to “centralize policy-making on climate issues to support a whole-of-government response.” And while Biden stood up his climate apparatus, Healey also plans to create an Office of Climate Innovation and Resilience and secretariat-level climate officers across the executive branch.
Hoffer, who will earn a $160,000 salary in her new Massachusetts role, is herself a Biden administration alum. She joined the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency in January 2021 as principal deputy general counsel.
Biden’s administration has numerous ties to Massachusetts. Former Boston Mayor Martin Walsh is Biden’s labor secretary and several former state lawmakers, including former House Majority Leader Claire Cronin and Reps. Maria Robinson and Lori Ehrlich, departed their posts after being tapped by Biden for federal posts.