Moving In and Moving Up: The New Faces of Energy Policy in 2013

To help our readers get up to speed on electoral changes at the state and federal levels, State & Local Energy Report has put together this report on the new faces in Congress and in governors’ mansions in 2013. Though the November elections were not as disruptive as two years ago, they did result in key changes in congressional committee memberships, as well as the election of six new governors.

In Congress, two former state energy officials, Paul Tonko (D-NY) and Ben Ray Luján (D-NM), have joined the House Energy and Commerce Committee, while Tim Murphy (R-PA) takes over as chair of the Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee, and Lee Terry (R-NE) moves up to chair the Subcommittee on Commerce, Manufacturing, and Trade.

On the state level, former congressman Jay Inslee, already a national figure on energy policy and co-author of Apollo’s Fire: Igniting America’s Clean Energy Economy, takes over as governor of Washington State.

Over the following pages, you’ll get to know each of these policymakers, and a few of their new colleagues, through a short biographical sketch and a telling quotation. For readers craving a more in-depth look, we ask you to return to these pages in the coming months as we continue to follow these new faces and examine the policies they will help shape.

New Governors

Focus on: Jay Inslee (D-WA)

Governor Jay Inslee has a long track record in the energy policy arena. He was a member of the House Energy and Commerce Committee before running for governor of Washington and is the co-author with Bracken Hendricks of Apollo’s Fire: Igniting America’s Clean Energy Economy (Island Press, 2007). The book calls for large investments in clean energy technologies and green-collar jobs as a way to reduce dependency on foreign oil and mitigate the effects of climate change.

During the campaign, Inslee proposed a mul- tipart plan to support the Washington economy through clean energy investments, including cre- ating an Advanced Sustainable Biofuels Center for Excellence at Washington State University, removing barriers to renewable energy projects, structuring tax incentives to support clean technol- ogy startups, changing state policies to encourage technology transfer from research centers, and investing in energy efficiency.

Inslee will face an early test as environmental- ists ramp up their campaigns against the fossil fuel transport system in light of proposals that would make the Pacific Northwest the central hub for exporting Montana coal to Asia. Although the governor does not have veto authority, environ- mental groups are hoping that Inslee will slow the process and add conditions that would make the project unviable. At the same time, the jobs that would come with the export terminal would help lower Washington State’s high unemployment rate, complicating the governor’s decisions.

     “There is no challenge greater for Washington, with more opportunity for job growth and more suited to our particular brand of genius and ingenuity, than leading the world’s clean energy economy…. These jobs won’t just fall into our lap. Washington has what it takes to win, but the clean energy race is highly competitive. Germany, China and California are not waiting. Neither should we. Over the next four years, we need to show our commitment with policies to promote economic growth, research and development on clean energy, to lock in the next wave of growth and opportunity for the next generation.”

-Governor Inslee’s Inaugural Address

“Creating a national energy tax through cap and trade legislation will not lower energy costs or create a cleaner environment. A true energy solution will allow the American people to utilize all of our domestic resources, while developing new technologies. Such a plan would lower energy costs and put the American people back to work.”
-Governor’s Website
Mike Pence (R-IN)
Governor Mike Pence takes over the governor’s residence in Indianapolis after six terms in Congress. During that time he was an intellectual leader of the House Republicans, heading the House Republican Conference from 2009 to 2011 and the House Republican Study Committee from 2005 to 2007. Last August, Pence told the Indiana Conference on Energy Management that, if elected governor, he would support liability protections for gas stations that provide ethanol, encourage technology transfer from Indiana’s universities, and support the development of Indiana’s first nuclear power plant.
“I worked hard to pass clean energy and environmental protection legislation when I was in the State Senate to help create jobs and lower energy costs, and as Governor, I will continue to move New Hampshire toward a 21st century energy policy.”
-Governor’s Website
Maggie Hassan (D-NH)
Governor Maggie Hassan was most recently the majority leader of the New Hampshire State Senate, where she was a co-sponsor of the legislation that allowed New Hampshire to join the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative. During the campaign, Hassan proposed doubling the research and development tax credit, and she pledged to create a 10-year statewide energy plan. Hassan has selected Meredith Hatfield, New Hampshire’s Consumer Advocate, to lead the Governor’s Office of Energy and Planning.
“It’s pretty safe to say it will be an all-of-the-above strategy and making sure that we’re doing it in a way that’s as predictable as possible for energy, but also as responsible as possible for what we enjoy about Montana”
-Interview with the
Billings Gazette,
December 23, 2012
Steve Bullock (D-MT)
Governor Steve Bullock moves up from his most recent post as Montana’s Attorney General. He has proposed an “all of the above” energy strategy with an emphasis on clean energy and energy independence. The first major energy challenge that the governor will face is the boom in the natural gas industry in the eastern part of the state, where rapid growth has outpaced government infrastructure investment. He has proposed a solution similar to the one enacted by the state’s coal impact board that distributes funds offset by long-term tax collections.
“‘We could be doing it right now had we not been sitting on the sidelines,’ McCrory said of fracking and off-shore drilling. ‘I want the private sector to determine if there’s gas here.’”
-Interview with
“On the Record,”
September 22, 2012
Pat McCrory (R-NC)
Governor Pat McCrory started his professional life in the energy industry. Fresh out of college he joined Duke Energy’s Management Training Program, which required recruits to work on the business side but also climb electric poles. He has served seven terms as mayor of Charlotte, North Carolina. During the campaign for governor, he strongly advocated for increased energy exploration and production in the state, specifically offshore drilling and hydraulic fracturing. He has proposed working with neighboring states on the development of offshore drilling.
New Members of the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources
“Making America energy independent will not only create jobs, but is critical to strengthening our national security, as we can no longer afford the price volatility inherent to our dangerous dependence on foreign countries for so much of our energy.”
-Senator’s Website
Martin Heinrich (D-NM)
Senator Martin Heinrich is currently serving his first term as the Junior Senator from New Mexico, after having been the Representative for New Mexico’s first congressional district from 2009 to 2013. From 1996 to 2001, he was the executive director of the Cottonwood Gulch Foundation, a nonprofit organization with the mission of educating young people about the natural sciences and the environment. In 2006, Governor Bill Richardson appointed Heinrich as New Mexico’s Natural Resources Trustee.
“Americans need cost-efficient, clean, and safe energy resources. All of which can be done with increasing our energy production on our own soil. It is in our country’s best interest to promote policies that encourage American-made alternative and renewable energy – policies that will embrace our nation’s energy capabilities.”
-Senator’s Website
Tim Scott (R-SC)
Senator Tim Scott is currently serving his first term as the Junior Senator from South Carolina after being appointed by Governor Nikki Haley to fill the remainder of Jim DeMint’s term. Prior to his appointment, he served as Representative for the first district. He has advocated achieving energy independence through decreased regulation on production. In Congress, he has served on the committees on Transportation and Infrastructure, Small Business, and Rules.
“With some of the highest energy and gas prices in the nation, Hawaii needs leadership that recognizes we can’t sustain our over-reliance on imported oil, or drill our way to energy independence—but that, with the right policies and priorities, we can create new jobs and innovate our way to a clean-energy tomorrow.”
-Senator’s Website
Mazie Hirono (D-HI)
Senator Mazie Hirono is currently serving her first term as the Junior Senator from Hawaii, after having been the Representative for Hawaii’s second congressional district from 2007 to 2013. Hirono has been a strong proponent of research and development into biofuels geared toward Hawaii’s year-round growing season. In the House, Hirono served on the committees on Education and the Workforce, Ethics, and Transportation and Infrastructure.
“‘Certainly to expedite permitting for natural gas and oil and other energy on federal lands,’ Flake said when asked about his focus on the panel. ‘And then other public lands issues, energy, there is always work to be done there.’”
-Interview with Rose Law Group
Reporter, January 4, 2013
Jeff Flake (R-AZ)
Senator Jeff Flake is currently serving his first term as the Junior Senator from Arizona, after having served as the Representative for Arizona’s sixth congressional district from 2001 to 2013. During his time in the House, Flake served on the Committee on Appropriations.
Moving up: Ron Wyden (D-OR)

Senator Ron Wyden is taking over the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources from Senator Jeff Bingaman, who retired at the end of the last session. Wyden has served in the Senate since 1996. Before that, Wyden represented Oregon’s third congressional district for 16 years. (For more information on his policy priorities, see our Energy Round Table on page 14.) In addition to his focus on energy, Wyden will also use the committee chairmanship to impact public lands policy. In Oregon, 53 percent of the land is public land, which is important to the state’s forest and paper industries.

Wyden will also be the first chair since 1987 who does not represent an oil- or gas-producing state. Senators from Alaska, Louisiana, and New Mexico held the position before him.

“I hope that there can be a new partnership between the federal government and the states. I mean, clearly, one size does not fit everybody when it comes to energy. I went to West Virginia to meet Senator [Joe] Manchin’s constituents recently, and Senator [Mary] Landrieu from Louisiana, and what works for Oregon is not necessarily going to work for their constituents. So we ought to start with the proposition that we really want to allow the states to bring their talents and creative juices to this, and particularly on both sides of the equation—supply and demand”

- State & Local Energy Report Energy Round Table

Focus on: Lamar Alexander (R-TN)

Senator Lamar Alexander is one of the most prominent Republicans in Congress. And although he is new to the Senate’s Committee on Energy and Commerce, he is not new to energy policy. He is the ranking member of the Appropriations Subcommittee on Energy and Water Development. In the last session he found himself testifying in front of the House Committee on Energy and Commerce about the “Act to Promote Electric Cars,” a piece of legislation he co-sponsored with Senator Jeff Merkley (D-OR). Alexander personally drives a plug-in Nissan Leaf.

Alexander has also been behind a push for more research and development dollars. The senator told Grist last year that “I’ve devised a plan for seven mini Manhattan Projects for energy independence: solar, batteries, green building, capturing carbon, fusion, making fuels from crops we don’t eat, and finding better ways to deal with nuclear fuel.”

“I find the intersection between environment and energy the most fascinating policy work I’ve done in recent years. I’ve found myself spending 40 to 50 percent of my policy time working on these issues.”

- Interview with, October 5, 2011

New Members of the House Energy and Commerce Committee
“America is home to vast natural resources, but many of our energy policies are built on the notion that energy is limited.”
- Press Release, October 2012
Renee Ellmers (R-NC)
Congresswoman Renee Ellmers was a registered nurse for more than 20 years before becoming involved in politics. She was first elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in November 2010 to represent the second district of North Carolina. Since joining Congress, she has served on three committees: Agriculture, Foreign Affairs, and Small Business. She chairs the Subcommittee on Health and Technology.
“With the highest per capita residential electricity demand, Florida has a vested interest in ensuring our country becomes energy independent.”
- Congressman’s Website
Gus Bilirakis (R-FL)
Congressman Gus Bilirakis entered political life early, volunteering on the congressional campaigns of his father, Michael Bilirakis. He served four terms in the Florida House of Representatives before succeeding his father as the House Representative for Florida’s ninth district in 2006. During his time in Congress, Bilirakis has served on the committees on Foreign Affairs, Homeland Security, and Veterans’ Affairs.
“We need to become more energy independent, lower energy costs for our families and build a clean energy economy in New Mexico.”
- Congressman’s Website
Ben Ray Luján (D-NM)
Congressman Ben Ray Luján joins the Energy and Commerce Committee in his third term, although he is no stranger to energy issues. A former public utility commissioner in New Mexico, he is the Chair of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus’ Green Economy and Renewable Energy Task Force and is a member of the Natural Gas Caucus. He is a co-founder of the Technology Transfer Caucus, and is the co-chair of the National Labs Caucus.
“Domestic energy production is poised to be the catalyst that launches the next great era of American exceptionalism.”
- Congressman’s Website
Bill Johnson (R-OH)
Before being elected in 2010 to represent Ohio’s sixth congressional district, Bill Johnson served his country for 26 years in the U.S. Air Force. He was the director of the Air Force’s Chief Information Officer Staff. Johnson has served on the House Subcommittee on Commerce, Manufacturing, and Trade and on the Subcommittee of Oversight and Investigations.
“We can insulate ourselves from energy price spikes and improve our economy by taking advantage of our domestic energy resources.”
- Congressman’s Website
Billy Long (R-MO)
Congressman Billy Long was a small business owner and auctioneer for more than 30 years before entering the political arena. He was elected in 2009 to represent Missouri’s seventh congressional district. In his first term in Congress, he served on the Committee on Homeland Security and the Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure.
“We need to build on our efforts to help achieve energy independence and recognize that good energy policy is also good environmental policy.“
- Congressman’s Website
Ralph Hall (R-TX)
Congressman Hall is returning to the Energy and Commerce Committee after taking a leave of absence to chair the Committee on Science, Space, and Technology. At age 89, Hall is the oldest member of the House. He sponsored a bill to establish a research and development program to develop new technologies for deep-water drilling, and he has been a proponent of both nuclear power generation and nuclear waste storage at Yucca Mountain.
Focus on: Paul Tonko (D-NY)

As a magazine created for state and local energy officials, it is not often we get to say one of our readers is joining the Energy and Commerce Committee. And this year we get to say it twice. Ben Ray Luján, a former public utility commissioner from New Mexico, and Congressman Paul Tonko of New York both joined the committee in the 113th Congress. Tonko will also serve as the ranking member on the Subcommittee on Environment and the Economy, as well as the Subcommittee on Energy and Power and the Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations.

Before being elected to Congress, Tonko was president and CEO of the New York State Research and Development Authority from 2007 to 2008. Before that, he spent 25 years in the New York State Assembly, where he chaired the Energy Committee for 15 years. Tonko, like many state energy officials, is a trained engineer and holds a degree in mechanical and industrial engineering from Clarkson University.

“I am incredibly honored and humbled to have been selected to serve on the Energy and Commerce Committee … I look forward to taking on this new challenge and am committed to promoting policies that will create jobs, grow our energy independence, and improve the air we breathe and the water we drink.”

-Press Release, December 13, 2012

New Subcommittee Chairs
“As a member of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, Subcommitee on Energy and Power, I have supported the expansion of America’s energy portfolio through increased domestic production, production of renewable energy and conservation and efficiency measures.”
- Congressman’s Website
Lee Terry (R-NE), Commerce, Manufacturing and Trade Subcommitee
Congressman Lee Terry is now chairing the Subcommittee on Commerce, Manufacturing, and Trade. He was the vice chair for both the Subcommittee on Communications and Technology and the Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations. Congressman Terry has been a strong proponent of the Keystone XL pipeline, which passes through his district in Nebraska.
“We have an opportunity to have oil from North Dakota and Montana and so many other states in this country, and having our own energy independence. . . . We have an opportunity here to have tens of thousands of jobs here with our oil, with North American oil.”
-Testimony in Congress on the
Keystone XL Pipeline
Tim Murphy (R-PA), Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee
Congressman Tim Murphy is now chairing the Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations, after having served as vice chair of that body as well as the Subcommittee on Environment and the Economy. In his role as a member of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, Murphy played an instrumental role in launching the Solyndra investigation. He is also the founder and co-chair of the Congressional Natural Gas Caucus.