National Leaders on the Future of Climate and Electrification

Three national climate policy stars kick off Season 3 of the Electrify This! podcast to recap 2022 successes, predict what’s in store for 2023 as the U.S. ramps up decarbonization efforts, and outline how the Inflation Reduction Act will benefit states, households, and the climate. Passing the IRA was critical, but now the hard work of delivering on its promise begins. Host Sara Baldwin speaks with U.S. Senator Martin Heinrich of New Mexico, U.S. Representative Kathy Castor of Florida (former Chair of the House Select Committee on the Climate Crisis), and Kelly Speakes-Backman, Executive Vice President of Public Affairs with Invenergy (former DOE Acting Assistant Secretary and Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary, Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy) to get their insights on how we made major progress last year and why we can expect an action-packed year ahead!

Guest bios:

U.S. Senator Martin Heinrich (New Mexico) was elected to serve as a United States Senator for New Mexico in 2012 and serves on the Senate Energy and Natural Resources, Appropriations, Intelligence, and Joint Economic Committees. With a background in engineering, Senator Heinrich brings a unique perspective to the Senate, where he is focused on creating the jobs of the future and confronting the climate crisis. He is a strong advocate for working families, a staunch ally of Indian Country, and a champion for New Mexico’s public lands and growing clean energy economy. Prior to being elected to the U.S. Senate, he served two terms in the U.S. House of Representatives, and before he was elected to Congress, he served four years as an Albuquerque City Council and was elected as City Council President. He holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Missouri and began his career as a contractor working on directed energy technology at Phillips Laboratories, which is now Air Force Research Laboratory at Kirtland Air Force Base.

U.S. House of Representatives Kathy Castor (Florida) is Tampa Bay’s voice in the U.S. Congress. She was elected in 2006 and represents Florida’s 14th Congressional district, which includes the cities of Tampa and St. Petersburg with parts of Hillsborough County and Pinellas County. She is the first woman to represent Hillsborough and Pinellas counties in the U.S. Congress. Representative Castor focuses on issues vital to Tampa Bay area families and businesses, and is committed to building a stronger economy that works for everyone as a member of the Energy and Commerce Committee and the Chair of the former Select Committee on the Climate Crisis. She works on initiatives to create jobs, protect the environment and consumers, improve schools, ensure veterans receive the benefits and care they have earned, provide access to affordable health care, and defend protections for people with preexisting health conditions. Before her election to Congress, she served as a Hillsborough County Commissioner and chair of the Hillsborough County Environmental Protection Commission. She is the former President of the Florida Association of Women Lawyers and partner in a statewide law firm. She holds degrees from Emory University and Florida State University College of Law.

Kelly Speakes-Backman is the Executive Vice President of Public Affairs with Invenergy, where she leads communications, government affairs, and marketing activities. Prior to joining Invenergy, Kelly served as the Acting Assistant Secretary and Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy at the Department of Energy, where she oversaw the planning and execution of the organization’s $3.2B portfolio of research, development, demonstration, and deployment activities in energy efficiency, renewable energy, and sustainable transportation. Kelly previously served as the first CEO of the Energy Storage Association and was also Commissioner of the Maryland Public Service Commission. In her career, she has held leadership positions at United Technologies, Wärtsilä, SunEdison and The Alliance to Save Energy. She was honored in 2019 by The Cleanie Awards as Woman of the Year and was nominated in 2020 to serve as a Clean Energy Education and Empowerment Ambassador.

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