In several previous dispatches (here, here, and here) I emphasized what good news it was that Barack Obama had chosen Steven Chu as his new Secretary of Energy. I based this on Chu's own reputation and record:
Because he is an eminent physicist, Chu's very presence in the job would hearten proponents of more emphasis on pure science. Because he has devoted his attention in recent years to the technological advances and the international cooperation necessary to deal with climate issues, he would both symbolize the important of this challenge and potentially lead the Administration's efforts. There were many other virtues of this choice.
I said all this without having any idea of the kind of team that would surround Chu at DoE. But if this report, on Al Kamen's Washington Post site is correct, he has made an inspired choice for his Deputy Secretary and closest working associate. This is Susan F. Tierney, of Boston.
She has been a leader in energy, environmental, and climate-change issues for decades, in academia, government, and business. Her bipartisan bona fides are such that she was appointed a commissioner of the Massachusetts Department of Public Utilities by Governor Mike Dukakis, and then Secretary of Environmental Affairs by Governor William Weld. She was an assistant secretary at DoE during Bill Clinton's first term, and since then has worked as a consultant at the Analysis Group and served on countless national and international commissions dealing with energy, environmental, and climate issues. She is an honest a person as you will find in public life, and is a skilled manager. Assuming Kamen's report is correct, this is another superb choice.
I am not an expert on energy or climate issues, but about Tierney's character and temperament I feel very confident in my assessments. I have known her as long as any person on earth has, since I was just under two years old when she arrived in the household as my little sister. Her mother and father would be extremely proud; her sister and two brothers, plus her husband and two sons and many others, are proud enough to make up. Really, her only failing is that she has never, once, given me any inside info of any sort on any topic that she has been working on. Sisters!