Biden taps Framingham rep for federal energy post

Political News

BOSTON (SHNS) – President Joe Biden announced plans late Wednesday to nominate Rep. Maria Robinson of Framingham to join his administration in the U.S. Department of Energy.

The White House said Robinson, who is nine months into her second two-year term, would serve as assistant secretary in the Office of Electricity.

On Twitter, Robinson wrote that she looked forward to working with U.S. Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm.

“To have the opportunity to serve my country using my background in energy policy is a dream come true, as is serving under @SecGranholm, a leader I have long admired for her smarts and bravery,” she tweeted. “I am especially grateful to my husband Matt, our amazing daughter, my parents to whom I owe absolutely everything, and my dear friends for their ongoing support throughout this entire process.”

Citing her work in the Legislature’s Clean Energy Caucus, the White House also highlighted her status as the Massachusetts state lead to the National Caucus of Environmental Legislators, and said she is the only state legislator on the U.S. EPA Clean Air Act Advisory Committee.

Before joining the House, Robinson led Advanced Energy Economy’s Wholesale Markets Program. In that role, according to her LinkedIn profile, she “worked directly with state, regional and federal agencies to reduce policy barriers for advanced clean energy technologies.” In 2011 and 2012, she worked with Navigant Consulting in its renewable energy and energy efficiency practice.

Robinson holds a bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and a master’s degree in energy law from the University of Tulsa. She is a lecturer at Tufts University, according to the White House, and is a lifetime Girl Scout after earning her Silver Award.

According to her legislative webpage, Robinson is originally from northeastern Pennsylvania, is an international transracial adoptee who was raised Irish-German Catholic, and is also an award-winning music director who enjoys playing piano for shows.

House Speaker Ronald Mariano issued a statement after news of Robinson’s nomination broke, calling her “an exceptional choice by the Biden-Harris Administration as our country combats climate change and transitions towards a clean energy future. Representative Robinson will bring her intelligence, commitment and a deep desire to problem solve to the role, and I wish her the best throughout her confirmation process.”

If she eventually departs the House for the new post, as is expected, the House would set a special election date to ensure that her district regains representation, probably in the wintertime. The Sixth Middlesex District is entirely within Framingham and spans 11 precincts in that city.

Before Robinson was elected in 2018, becoming the first Korean-American elected to the Legislature, the district was represented by Chris Walsh, who died in 2018 after a battle with cancer.

The House has 160 districts but 159 members are serving after Ipswich Republican Brad Hill resigned this month to join the Massachusetts Gaming Commission.

The House is awaiting word on the confirmation of Majority Leader Claire Cronin of Brockton, who Biden announced in June as his nominee for U.S. ambassador to Ireland.

Another high-profile elected official, Suffolk County District Attorney Rachael Rollins, could also be stepping down soon. Rollins is one of 14 nominees on the agenda for a U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee hearing Thursday. If Rollins is confirmed, Gov. Charlie Baker would name an interim Suffolk DA.

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