When Lynn Scarlett was the second highest-ranking official at the Interior Department, her colleagues referred to her as “the gazelle.” A fanatical birder and self-described “devotee” of wildlife refuges, Scarlett operates at a manic pace and always seems to be in a jog.
Earlier this week, Scarlett was named managing director for public policy at the Nature Conservancy, where she will be reunited with Bob Bendick, with whom Scarlett cochairs the Practitioners’ Network for Large Landscape Conservation.
Scarlett, 63, was raised in western Pennsylvania — “not far from where Rachel Carson lived,” she said — and spent much of her childhood in a 27-acre wooded lot behind her house. “Ever since I could wield the binoculars when I was 5 or 6 years old, my mother took me out birding.”
After receiving bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the University of California (Santa Barbara), Scarlett was hired by the Los Angeles-based Reason Foundation, where she specialized in hazardous-waste and other environmental-policy issues. Over the course of 15 years at the libertarian think tank, Scarlett served as research director, vice president for policy, and eventually president and executive director.
When George W. Bush was elected to his first term, Scarlett was recruited to the Interior Department, custodian of 500 million acres of federal public lands, as assistant secretary for policy, management, and budget. After serving briefly as head of the department following the resignation of Secretary Gale Norton in 2006, Scarlett was elevated to deputy secretary and chief operating officer under Norton’s successor, Dirk Kempthorne. She was briefly ensnared in controversy the following year, when she appeared before a congressional committee to assure lawmakers that she would review any decisions made by a reprobate Fish and Wildlife Service official, who had resigned amid accusations that she violated federal ethics rules.
Toward the end of her tenure, Scarlett served as a lead author on the U.S. National Climate Assessment, which compiled and synthesized research on the implications of climate change. Some land and water under the purview of the Interior Department, such as the Everglades in southern Florida, are especially vulnerable to sea-level rise, changing patterns of precipitation, and other symptoms of a warming planet. “As prudent managers, we needed to have a better understanding of what these effects were, so that we could up our game, so that we could ensure we were reducing risk to those resources and managing wisely,” Scarlett said.
At the same time, she and her colleagues made sure not to exceed their mandate, which was to assess the risks associated with climate change, not set policy. “That was a matter for the Congress,” Scarlett said.
Before arriving at the Nature Conservancy, Scarlett was codirector of Resources for the Future’s Center for Management of Ecological Wealth. When in Washington, her favorite birding destinations are Bombay Hook National Wildlife Refuge and Prime Hook National Wildlife Refuge, both on the Delaware coast. She has two grandchildren, ages 1 and 4.
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Just after President Obama finished his address to the DNC, Hillary Clinton walked out on stage to join him, so the better could share a few embraces, wave to the crowd—and let the cameras capture all the unity for posterity.
In a speech that began a bit like a State of the Union address, President Obama said the "country is stronger and more prosperous than it was" when he took office eight years ago. He then talked of battling Hillary Clinton for the nomination in 2008, and discovering her "unbelievable work ethic," before saying that no one—"not me, not Bill"—has ever been more qualified to be president. When his first mention of Donald Trump drew boos, he quickly admonished the crowd: "Don't boo. Vote." He then added that Trump is "not really a plans guy. Not really a facts guy, either."
Tim Kaine introduced himself to the nation tonight, devoting roughly the first half of his speech to his own story (peppered with a little of his fluent Spanish) before pivoting to Hillary Clinton—and her opponent. "Hillary Clinton has a passion for children and families," he said. "Donald Trump has a passion, too: himself." His most personal line came after noting that his son Nat just deployed with his Marine battalion. "I trust Hillary Clinton with our son's life," he said.
Michael Bloomberg said he wasn't appearing to endorse any party or agenda. He was merely there to support Hillary Clinton. "I don't believe that either party has a monopoly on good ideas or strong leadership," he said, before enumerating how he disagreed with both the GOP and his audience in Philadelphia. "Too many Republicans wrongly blame immigrants for our problems, and they stand in the way of action on climate change and gun violence," he said. "Meanwhile, many Democrats wrongly blame the private sector for our problems, and they stand in the way of action on education reform and deficit reduction." Calling Donald Trump a "dangerous demagogue," he said, "I'm a New Yorker, and a know a con when I see one."
Vice President Biden tonight called President Obama "one of the finest presidents we have ever had" before launching into a passionate defense of Hillary Clinton. "Everybody knows she's smart. Everybody knows she's tough. But I know what she's passionate about," he said. "There's only one person in this race who will help you. ... It's not just who she is; it's her life story." But he paused to train some fire on her opponent "That's not Donald Trump's story," he said. "His cynicism is unbounded. ... No major party nominee in the history of this country has ever known less."