Trump adds renewable energy advocate to DOE team

Source: Robin Bravender, E&E News reporter • Posted: Tuesday, November 29, 2016

President-elect Donald Trump has added another team member to the so-called landing team expected to shepherd the Energy Department’s transition.

On Friday, the transition team announced that Kelly Mitchell, a Michigan Republican and a sales account manager at Multi Automatic Tool and Supply Co., will be joining the DOE team. The landing teams are expected to interview top agency officials and help formulate a policy agenda for the new administration.

Mitchell is the second name announced for the DOE team, whose leader is Tom Pyle, president of the Institute for Energy Research. Additional names are expected to be announced as the transition team expands. The team’s former leader, energy lobbyist Mike McKenna, stepped down from the team earlier this month amid a broad transition shakeup and new rules requiring lobbyists to deregister (Greenwire, Nov. 21).

Mitchell, outreach vice chairwoman of the Michigan Republican Party, is a founding member of the Michigan Conservative Energy Forum’s Leadership Council.

Earlier this year, she was the co-author of an op-ed in The Oakland Press, in which she and other conservatives called for the expansion of renewable energy.

The op-ed calls for an energy portfolio including a “greater mix of clean, domestic, renewable energy. This not only gives us greater control over the cost of our energy, but it keeps our hard earned dollars right here in Michigan, instead of sending them to countries who often wish to do us harm.”

The authors called on Michigan lawmakers “to stay strong in their commitment to a secure energy future, and to expand Michigan’s role as a clean energy innovator and leader in our country.”

Mitchell, reached by phone today in Michigan, said her work on energy issues has primarily focused “on the advocacy side.” She had not yet heard that her appointment was official, and declined to comment further until she had spoken to the transition team.

Mitchell’s Twitter account includes photos of her with Trump, House Energy and Commerce Chairman Fred Upton (R-Mich.) and Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette (R).

According to her biography on the Michigan Conservative Energy Forum’s website, Mitchell has worked on several previous Republican campaigns, was appointed to the Republican National Committee’s Michigan Black Advisory Board, and is a member of the Michigan Conservative Energy Forum’s Leadership Council and the Kent County Solid Waste Management Planning Committee.