Former Iowa governor eyed for energy post under Biden

Iowa Governor Chet Culver Image: Flickr

President-elect Joe Biden’s transition team has spoken to former Iowa Governor Chet Culver about joining the new administration, according to two people familiar with the matter.

A possible senior role in the Energy Department that would draw on Culver’s expertise in renewable power has been discussed, according to one of the people, who asked not to be named discussing a personnel matter.

The conversation comes as the Biden-Harris transition team takes early steps to begin building a new administration, including appointing some 4,000 individuals for roles across the federal government. Attention has focused on who Biden will tap for cabinet posts and key White House positions, though the president-elect’s selection of other top officials will also help signal his approach to policy priorities, from clean energy to climate change.

Culver, a former high school teacher who now runs a renewable energy consulting firm, championed biofuels and wind and solar power during his four-year tenure as Iowa’s governor. If Culver were to be offered and accept a top role in the Energy Department, it would mark a shift at the agency currently led by officials with oil-industry ties, in keeping with Biden’s promises to support electric vehicles and clean energy.

Iowa measures

As Iowa’s governor, Culver viewed renewable power as an economic engine for the state. He established its Office of Energy Independence and in 2009 signed into law measures opening tax credits to small wind-energy projects and other incentives designed to lure renewable component manufacturers to Iowa. Culver was defeated by Republican Terry Branstad in 2010.

As co-chair of the National Governors Association’s wind coalition, Culver also unsuccessfully pressed the Obama-Biden administration to impose a renewable energy standard requiring utilities to draw a percentage of their power from alternative sources.

A Biden-Harris transition spokesman declined to comment. Culver didn’t respond to a request for comment.

Culver has long family ties to the Bidens – his father served alongside Biden in the Senate in the 1970s – and endorsed the president-elect 10 days before the Iowa caucuses.

© 2020 Bloomberg L.P.

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