FRAMINGHAM – State Representative Maria Robinson, 34, will be leaving Framingham for the Biden-Harris administration.
Tonight, September 22, the White House announced Rep. Robinson as the nominee to head the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Electricity.
Robinson was rumored this summer to become a Federal Energy Regulatory Commissioner, but the President announced his intention to nominate Willie L. Phillips, Jr. on September 9. That Commission is an independent agency that regulates the interstate transmission of natural gas, oil, electricity, and other energy projects, ensuring that consumers can access affordable, efficient, safe, reliable, and secure energy services.
As the nominee for the Assistant Secretary of Energy for Electricity Delivery and Energy Reliability, Robinson, once confirmed by the U.S. Senate, would head the Office of Electricity Delivery and Energy Reliability within the United States Department of Energy.
If confirmed, Robinson as the assistant secretary for office of electricity, would lead the planning and execution of the organization’s $2.8 billion portfolio of research, development, demonstration, and deployment activities in energy efficiency, renewable energy, and sustainable transportation.
“Being nominated by President Biden is truly the greatest honor of my life, and I look forward to beginning the confirmation process. To have the opportunity to serve my country using my extensive background in energy policy is a dream come true, as is serving under Secretary Jennifer Granholm, a leader I have long admired. I am especially grateful to my family and dear friends for their ongoing support throughout this entire process,” said Rep. Robinson to SOURCE.
“I am grateful to President Biden for nominating Maria Robinson to serve as DOE’s Assistant Secretary in the Office of Electricity. This office’s work to expand and modernize our electric grid, including our transmission system, is critical to helping us confront the climate crisis and create a clean energy economy that works for everyone. Maria has been leading the charge for clean energy in Massachusetts, and her political smarts and technical expertise will help us turn President Biden’s goal of 100% clean electricity by 2035 into reality. I’m so glad that she’s willing to join the federal government and I look forward to her confirmation,” said Secretary Granholm in a statement tonight, September 22.
The Office leads efforts to modernize the electric grid. It does this through the development and implementation of national policy pertaining to electric grid reliability, and through the management of research, development, and demonstration activities for next generation electric grid infrastructure technologies.
Under the supervision of the Under Secretary of Energy for Energy and Environment, the Assistant Secretary is responsible of for the analysis of electricity congestion, the designation of draft National Interest Electric Transmission Corridors, the coordination of energy corridors across federal lands, and workforce issues related to the electricity utility industry.
The Office of Electricity Delivery and Energy Reliability also works with the Department of Homeland Security and other agencies to enhance the security of the nation’s critical energy infrastructure.
The Office of Electricity works to develop new technologies to improve the infrastructure that brings electricity into our homes, offices, and factories, and the federal and state electricity policies and programs that shape electricity system planning and market operations.
The mission of the Office of Electricity is to secure and resilient power grid is vital to national security, economic security, and the services Americans rely upon.
Rep. Robinson was elected state representative in 2018, after Chris Walsh died from cancer in May. She has served in the State House since January 1, 2019. She was the first Korean-American elected to the Massachusetts Legislature.
She leads the House side of the Clean Energy Caucus, serves as the Massachusetts state lead to the National Caucus of Environmental Legislators where she is on the board, and is the only state legislator on the U.S. EPA Clean Air Act Advisory Committee
Robinson was director of Director of the Wholesale Markets Program with Advanced Energy Economy for 7 years before she was elected state representative.
She has been a part-lecturer at Tufts University since the summer of 2020 teaching “Energy Policy and the Transformation to Net-Zero for Urban and Environmental Policy and Planning Department.”
Rep, Robinson has a Bachelor of Science in chemical engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
She received a master’s degree in Energy, Environment, and natural Resources Law from the University of Tulsa in 2016.
Rep. Robinson is lifetime Girl Scout, who earned her Silver Award.
“I am sure there will be questions in the 6th Middlesex about what happens next. Rest assured, I plan to maintain my role as state representative until confirmation by the U.S. Senate, which can be a lengthy process. Until that time, I intend to continue my dedicated service to the people of Framingham as their elected official,” said Rep. Robinson to SOURCE.
“Upon confirmation, I trust that Senate President Spilka, Representative Lewis, and Representative Gentile will continue to work together to ensure the needs of Framingham residents are heard on Beacon Hill. I am especially grateful to Representative Lewis who capably met the needs of the 6th Middlesex district after the passing of Representative Walsh and who has kindly agreed to do same task should I be confirmed. I have great faith in his abilities and appreciate his generosity,” said Rep. Robinson to SOURCE.
The Commonwealth of Massachusetts is currently going through redistricting, after the 2020 Census.
Normally, a special election is held when a state representative resigns in the middle of their term.
But SOURCE is hearing from political insiders that the seat may remain open until the end of Rep. Robinson’s term on December 31, 2022.
That means the seat may not be filled until the election in November 2022, along with all the other state representatives in Massachusetts. Candidates for that seat would need to submit papers by May 2022.
It is still unclear today, September 22, what Rep. Robinson’s current district will look like post redistricting.
Framingham grew slightly, but likely was undercounted in the 2020 census. Neighboring communities of Ashland, Natick, Sudbury, and Marlborough all grew too.
There has been talk at the State House, of carving up a district that represents 01702 neighborhoods, whose demographics are vastly different than the 01701 neighborhoods.
Currently Rep. Robinson represents 11 of the 18 Precincts in the City of Framingham.
Rep. Jack Patrick Lewis has 6 Precincts (8, 13, 14, 16, 17, and 18) in Framingham plus the Town of Ashland.
Rep. Carmine Gentile represents Precinct 3 in Framingham, a portion of the City of Marlborough, a part of the Town of Wayland, and the Town of Sudbury.
But City Clerk Lisa Ferguson, due to redistricting, is proposing 27 Precincts for the City of Framingham come 2022.
The state is still working on its redistricting plan, at this time.
Editor’s Note: This report was updated after publication with statement by Rep. Robinson to the news outlet. Last updated at 9:33 p.m. with statement from the Energy Secretary.