Governor Maura Healey & Climate Chief Melissa Hoffer (image courtesy of State House News)
On January 6, 2023, 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.