Obama's Secretary of Energy: Who Will Get the Call?

The dust has barely settled from Tuesday’s election and the rumor mill is already up and running for potential White House staff. President-elect Obama faces a tough four years (if not eight), and will need all the help he can get. Undoubtedly, the job of Secretary of Energy is going to be a tricky one. So the question is, who is going to be up for the job?


Being a member of the President’s White House staff is no easy task.  President Andrew Jackson actually had two cabinets to hold the union together.  One was the formal cabinet which met in the White House and the other was known as his “Kitchen Cabinet” which met after hours across the street.

The Secretary of Energy will not be an easy role to assume.  The price of gas may have fallen recently, but that does not make us immune to future shortages and overseas skirmishes over resources.  President-elect Obama has been a symbol of American progress.  I sincerely hope his choice for the head of the DOE will share his vision and make sure we are on the right path to energy independence.

It appears that current Secretary of Energy Samuel Bodmen will not be resuming his post as the head of the Department of Energy.  He was confirmed unanimously by the US Senate in 2005 with intimidating credentials (a bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering from Cornell Universtiy and a doctorate from MIT in chemical engineering as well), but it appears that Obama harbors no nostalgia for any member of the Bush Administration.  Secretary Bodmen leaves his successor with a 23 billion dollar budget excess and over 100,000 government contracts to service.

Here are the front-runners for the post, according to the Huffington Post:

Dan Reicher: The man apparently at the top of the list, Reicher is the Google.org director of Climate and Energy Initiatives and he also served as the Assistant Secretary of Energy in 2000.  The Huff Post cites his experience as a successful eco-mined venture capitalist as the reason he is the most talked about for the job. Personally, I think anyone associated with Google is probably a good fit for this country (especially the charitable arm of the company).  The company’s desire for positive change and environmental accountability is one to be envied.

Jason Grumet: Grumet is currently Obama’s energy advisor and is reportedly another top candidate for the job.  He currently is the executive director of the National Comission on Energy Policy and vaguely resembles Jeff Goldblum circa Jurassic Park (which doesn’t make him any more qualified, just more amusing). Grumet is a Harvard and Brown University grad who also worked as the Executive Dirctor of the Northeast States for Coordinated Air Use Management and already resides in the DC area.  His selection looks to be a safe choice considering he has already worked to shape Obama’s energy plan and won’t have to move if selected.

Steve Westley: Current California State Controller and Obama supporter Westley has also had his name tossed into the hat.  He worked for President Carter in the Department of Energy’s Office of Solar and Conservation.  He was the California co-chair for Obama for America and was also one of the founding executives of eBay. Westley is currently on the board of Tesla Motors and is a managing partner of the Westley Group, a clean technology company.  These credentials make him a viable candidate for the position.

Ed Rendell: One of the two governors who have expressed interest in the post.  Rendell is a popular Pennsylvania Governor who is facing a precarious situation since his term is over in 2011 and will not be able to run again.  Rendell fought hard for Obama after initially supporting Sen. Clinton in the Democratic primaries.  He seems like a bit of a long shot, but has expressed interest in taking a post in the Obama administration after his current term of governor is over.

Arnold Schwarzenegger: That’s right. The governator. None other than carbon dioxide combatant of California himself.  While I don’t agree with him on all issues, I have to hand it to the guy.  He has made energy efficiency a statewide priority and is, in many cases, setting an example that the rest of the United States should be doing their best to follow.  President-elect Obama has made it very clear that he will have a bipartisan cabinet, and I can’t think of another Republican I’d rather have as the Secretary of Energy.

So what are your thoughts?  This pick will be an important one for the new President who needs to prove to the rest of America that he has good judgment.  I trust he will pick the right person.

On a personal note; yes we can, and yes we did.

Other links on Energy Policy Related to the US Election:

Image Credit: ~MVI~ Flickr photostream under a Creative Commons License.

Source: Huffington Post

Anthony Cefali

Anthony is a student at the University of Wisconsin-Madison majoring in biology as well as English. He became interested in the biofuel initiative after getting a job in the Raines Lab of Petroleum Alternatives at the university turning sugars into biofuels. He is the first to admit that he doesn't fully understand everything that he does or is trying to do, but enjoys doing his bit to help the environment. Anthony has very few plans for his future, but is interested in how natural systems work and how urban development changes these systems. On a good day, Anthony enjoys riding his bike really far away and reading Kurt Vonnegut books.