Jennifer Granholm is the U.S. secretary of energy. She had previously served as the governor of Michigan. Granholm had worked with the auto industry as governor, and her experience could aid Biden in bringing the auto industry on board with his push to promote electric vehicles. After being nominated by then-President-elect Joe Biden in December 2020, she was confirmed by the Senate on Feb. 25, 2021, and sworn in later the same day.
Granholm oversees operations at the U.S. Department of Energy. She is responsible for managing the country's nuclear weapons program (in collaboration with the Department of Defense), energy research and conservation initiatives, and its energy policy, including the promotion of innovative energy technologies.
Granholm served two terms as the governor of Michigan between 2003 and 2010, becoming the first woman ever to lead the state. She played a key role in guiding Michigan, which is heavily dependent on the automobile industry, through the Great Recession. Working with the Obama administration, Granholm helped to secure a 2009 bailout of the auto industry, which included investments in clean energy.
Prior to her time as Michigan's governor, Granholm became the first woman to serve as the attorney general of Michigan in 1998. She is also the founder of the American Jobs Project, a multi-state, multi-university initiative promoting technological advancements and clean energy policies to stimulate job creation.
Granholm has the support of environmental groups and has been an advocate for clean energy policy throughout her career. She is expected to play a key role in carrying out Biden's climate policies and push for a clean energy economy. But her support of the auto industry through the recession may also help bolster Biden's appeal with blue-collar workers and the U.S. manufacturing sector.
Early Career and Education
Granholm began her career as a judicial clerk for Michigan's Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals. In 1990, she became a federal prosecutor in Detroit. Four years later, she was appointed Wayne County Corporation Counsel.
She received her Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of California, Berkeley, and her J.D. from Harvard Law School.