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Biden Nominates Jainey Bavishi as Assistant Secretary for Oceans and Atmosphere at Dept. of Commerce

Biden Nominates Jainey Bavishi as Assistant Secretary for Oceans and Atmosphere at Dept. of Commerce

  • The Indian American is currently director of the New York City Mayor’s Office of Climate Resiliency.

President Joe Biden has nominated Jainey K. Bavishi as assistant secretary for Oceans and Atmosphere in the Department of Commerce. Bavishi currently serves as the director of the New York City Mayor’s Office of Climate Resiliency, where she leads a cross-disciplinary team that prepares the city for the impacts of climate change through science-based analysis, policy, program, and project development, and capacity building.

“Honored to be nominated by @POTUS to return to @NOAA to protect our oceans and coasts.” Bavishi tweeted. “Eager to speak with the Senate Commerce Committee about these important topics.”

According to The Washington Post, Bavishi “will serve as one of the two top deputies to NOAA Administrator Rick Spinrad, an ocean scientist, who was confirmed by the Senate last month after being nominated by President Biden in April.” As per the Post report, “the Biden administration has made confronting climate change one of its top priorities, and the appointment of Bavishi is fitting at an agency responsible for environmental prediction and monitoring and protecting the nation’s coasts, oceans and fisheries.”

The Post further speculated that the Indian American “may also get pulled into efforts to explore the development of a “National Climate Service,” which makes climate data, forecasts and decision support tools available to the public akin to the National Weather Service’s efforts with weather information.”

In an emailed statement sent to the Post, New York Mayor Bill de Blasio lauded the Biden administration for picking “a tremendous climate champion to serve the American people.” He added that “Jainey’s leadership and vision has transformed New York City’s coastline and has helped to protect New Yorkers from destructive flooding and deadly heat waves.”

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Similarly, Kathy Sullivan, who served as NOAA administrator under President Barack Obama, in an email sent to the Post, said: Bavishi “brings to the post a powerful combination of top-notch management skills, knowledge of Federal government and on-the-ground experience with environmental conservation and resilience.”

During the Obama administration, Bavishi served as the associate director for Climate Preparedness at the White House Council on Environmental Quality and Director of External Affairs and Senior Policy Advisor at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). She also served as the executive director of R3ADY Asia-Pacific, focused on enhancing disaster risk reduction and resilience in the Asia-Pacific region, based in Honolulu, Hawaii. 

Previously, she was the founding director of the Equity and Inclusion Campaign, a coalition of community-based leaders in the Gulf Coast region that focused on recovery from Hurricanes Katrina, Rita, Gustav and Ike, at the Louisiana Disaster Recovery Foundation. She has a Master’s degree in city planning from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and a Bachelor’s degree in public policy and cultural anthropology from Duke University.

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