With John Kerry settling in as U.S. secretary of state, President Obama on Monday morning nominated two others with Massachusetts ties to key posts in his administration.
Regina McCarthy is Obama’s choice to head the Environmental Protection Agency, and the president has tapped MIT professor Ernest Moniz as energy secretary.
At the White House, Obama introduced Moniz as a “brilliant scientist” and said he “already knows his way around the Department of Energy” having served as an undersecretary during the Clinton administration.
McCarthy, an assistant EPA administrator, served in Massachusetts environmental agencies under former Gov. Mitt Romney. The former commissioner of the Connecticut Department of Environmental Protection, McCarthy received a bachelor’s degree from the University of Massachusetts-Boston and a joint master of science in environmental health engineering and planning and policy from Tufts University.
“You wouldn’t know from talking to her, but Gina is from Boston,” Obama said as he introduced McCarthy Monday morning.
Obama noted McCarthy’s work on energy efficiency and renewable energy programs in Massachusetts and Connecticut and called her a “straight shooter” who “welcomes different points of views.”
Referring to McCarthy and Moniz, Obama said, “So these two over here, they’re going to be making sure that we’re investing in American energy, that we’re doing everything that we can to combat the threat of climate change, that we’re going to be creating jobs and economic opportunity in the first place. They are going to be a great team.”
McCarthy and Moniz are scheduled to succeed Lisa Jackson and Steven Chu, respectively.
MIT President Rafael Reif called Moniz a brilliant choice for energy secretary.
“The truth is that I would rather not lose him, but, goodness, this is such an important job for the country that for that reason alone I’m OK with it,” Reif said.
Congressman Edward Markey, the ranking Democrat on the Natural Resources Committee, said in a statement:
I’ve known Gina and Ernie for years, and their intellectual toughness and creativity are exemplary. Our country has the opportunity and obligation to tackle climate change and create new clean energy jobs, and I know these two Massachusetts leaders will continue the course President Obama has set to increase clean energy and decrease pollution.
With reporting by State House News Service and the WBUR Newsroom