Best Local Girl Made Good - 2011
It makes sense that a woman born in the only major American city situated between two national parks would become one of the most important voices in environmental policy. Carol Browner, the daughter of two Miami Dade College professors, climbed the political ladder by working as a legislative aide under the likes of Lawton Chiles and Al Gore. After a brief but important stint as head of the Florida Department of Environmental Regulation, Browner was named administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency under President Bill Clinton and recently served as director of the White House Office of Energy and Climate Change Policy under Barack Obama. During her tenure, she pushed for cleaner vehicle emissions and became the Obama administration's point person during the Deepwater Horizon oil spill. Unfortunately, her tireless push for legislation to address climate change never came to fruition, and Browner stepped down this past March after attacking the president's habit of appointing czars. Still, environmental activists will surely miss her, and even one of her toughest opponents, Sen. Jim Inhofe, a Republican from Oklahoma who still refuses to acknowledge global warming, wished her well. "I would say that I'm happy to see her leave only because she was so effective in advancing her side," Inhofe told Politico.com. "Given her considerable knowledge and experience in navigating the bureaucracy, she will be irreplaceable."