Governor Healey Signs Executive Order Creating Massachusetts’ First Ever Climate Chief

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In full transparency, the following is a press release from the Healey-Driscoll administration submitted to SOURCE media.

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BOSTON – On the first full day of her administration, Governor Maura Healey signed an Executive Order establishing the position of Climate Chief and creating an Office of Climate Innovation and Resilience within the Governor’s Office.

Melissa Hoffer has been appointed as Massachusetts’ first Climate Chief.

Massachusetts is the first state in the nation to establish such a position at the cabinet level. 

“The climate crisis is Massachusetts’ greatest challenge, but there is enormous opportunity in our response,” said Governor Healey. “I’m filing this Executive Order today, on the first full day of the Healey-Driscoll Administration, because we have no time to delay. It’s essential that we begin coordinating our climate policy across all state agencies and all communities in Massachusetts so that we can make the progress we so urgently need and drive our clean energy economy.” 

“The establishment of Climate Chief and the Office of Climate Innovation and Resilience is critical to Massachusetts’ future,” said Climate Chief Melissa Hoffer. “Climate change impacts all aspects of our lives, and it’s essential that we are coordinating our response across the entire government and the entire state. The action Governor Healey is taking today is putting Massachusetts on the path to a better, healthier, more equitable future.” 

The Office of Climate Innovation and Resilience is charged with harnessing all of the resources and authority available to the Governor and the executive department to advance the Commonwealth’s climate innovation, mitigation, adaptation and resilience policies. The Office is led by the Climate Chief, who is appointed by and reports to the Governor and serves as an officer within the Governor’s cabinet. The Climate Chief is the principal policy advisor to the Governor on all matters relating to climate and leads the development and implementation of policy across executive department agencies and offices. 

Among other provisions, the Executive Order directs the Climate Chief to begin a comprehensive review of current staffing, policymaking and resources of all Secretariats to support a whole-of-government approach to addressing climate change. The Climate Chief is required to present initial recommendations to the Governor within 180 days. Additionally, each Cabinet Secretary is required to appoint a Climate Officer responsible for implementing climate-related efforts within their relevant executive department, in consultation with the Climate Chief. 

On Friday, Governor Healey also swore in her cabinet secretaries and held her first cabinet meeting.

She provided additional updates on the cabinet, including announcing the reappointment of Terrence Reidy as Secretary of the Executive Office of Public Safety and Security. Mike Doheny will serve as Acting Labor and Workforce Secretary. He has been with the office for nearly a dozen years and most recently served as General Counsel & Undersecretary of Labor.

Mary Beckman has been appointed Acting Health and Human Services Secretary. She was previously Chief of the Massachusetts Attorney General’s Health Care and Fair Competition Bureau. The hiring process for Labor and Workforce and Health and Human Services Secretaries is active and ongoing. 

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