Good news! The Oregon Senate today confirmed Janine Benner as the permanent director of the Oregon Department of Energy.
Governor Kate Brown named Janine acting director in October, and then nominated her as permanent director in January. The Senate took up her nomination during its short February session. Janine was considered along with other nominees for state positions, boards, and commissions, including Ann Gravatt, who was appointed to the Energy Facility Siting Council.
The Senate’s affirmative vote makes Janine the first agency director to receive Senate confirmation. Previous directors were appointed by the Governor but did not require Senate approval. The Oregon Department of Energy helped pass legislation during the 2017 session to require Senate confirmation – one of many steps we took to help improve transparency and oversight of the agency.
Janine’s been busy as acting director and is looking forward to keeping up the pace. In her testimony in front of the Senate Committee on Rules, Janine spoke about what motivates her team at the agency. “The question our team asks every day is how to keep energy supply and costs stable while addressing all the issues that energy touches – such as adding more renewables, reducing carbon, protecting natural resources, supporting energy-related jobs, and building a more resilient energy system,” Janine told the committee. “It’s our job at ODOE to have solutions to that question.”
Janine was also appreciative of the ODOE team. “I’m excited to take the helm at the Department of Energy first and foremost because of the staff. I’ve been with ODOE for a year, I know what great people work there – how their dedication and determination are contributing to a stronger foundation internally and for the Oregonians we serve.”
To see Janine’s full testimony, visit the Oregon Legislature’s website.