Dorchester native Gina McCarthy will head up the federal agency charged with developing and enforcing environmental regulations. McCarthy had been one of the nominees tied up in the Senate, a logjam that was broken when Democratic leaders reportedly threatened to change Senate rules to make confirmations easier.
On Thursday, the Senate confirmed McCarthy to head up the Environmental Protection Agency by a vote of 59-40. Republicans on the Environment and Public Works Committee boycotted a committee vote in May on McCarthy’s nomination.
"I am very pleased the Senate has confirmed Gina McCarthy as the next Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency. Gina is a proud Massachusetts native with an outstanding record of public service. She has dedicated her professional life to the protection of our public health and to the stewardship of our environment, and I am confident she will be a strong leader at the EPA,” said U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren in a statement.
A UMass Boston graduate, McCarthy became the first full-time health agent in the town of Canton and worked for the Stoughton Board of Health, according to a biography posted by the state of Connecticut where she eventually served as commission of the Department of Environmental Protection.
Gov. Michael Dukakis appointed McCarthy a member of the Hazardous Waste Facility Site Safety Council, and appointed her chairwoman in 1990. McCarthy continued working in Massachusetts state government, managing the Toxic Use Reduction Program, under Gov. Bill Weld. Gov. Paul Cellucci appointed her assistant secretary of pollution prevention, environmental business, and technology. Gov. Mitt Romney appointed McCarthy undersecretary of policy at the Office of Environmental Affairs, and then deputy secretary of operations in the new Office for Commonwealth Development.
McCarthy then worked for Connecticut, and later joined the federal government as assistant administrator of the EPA’s Office of Air and Radiation.