OAK RIDGE, Tenn. (Dec. 1, 2020) — Oak Ridge City Council Member Ellen Smith has been appointed to a one-year term as chair of the National League of Cities (NLC) 2020 Energy, Environment and Natural Resources (EENR) Federal Advocacy Committee, one of seven NLC advocacy committees that provide strategic direction and guidance for NLC’s federal advocacy agenda and policy priorities.
The appointment was announced by NLC President Kathy Maness, councilmember, Lexington, South Carolina, and was confirmed by the membership of NLC at its recent annual meeting (conducted as a virtual meeting).
As chair, Smith will also serve on NLC’s board of directors for one year. In that capacity, she will play a key role among a diverse group of local leaders in shaping NLC’s policy positions and advocating on behalf of America’s cities and towns before Congress, with the administration, and at home.
NLC is the nation’s largest and most representative organization for cities, their elected leaders and municipal staff, and advocates for city priorities in Washington by building strong federal-local partnerships. The City of Oak Ridge has been a member of NLC since the founding of the city in 1959.
According to Smith, “There is a long history of Oak Ridge officials serving on the EENR committee. Our former mayor, the late Jerry Kuhaida, and former Council member David Mosby each served on this committee for several years, and Mayor Kuhaida chaired it for one year. As Oak Ridgers, we often bring a special perspective on nuclear and other energy technologies to the national conversation. Our city’s recent experiences with DOE environmental cleanup, U.S. EPA mandates for our wastewater system, and paying for our new drinking water treatment plant are related to current national issues about infrastructure investment, energy and environmental policy, and relationships between local, state, and national government. EENR also receives useful information and makes recommendations on diverse matters of interest to our city and our residents, including waste reduction and recycling, climate change, building energy efficiency, stormwater management, and substances that are newly emerging as contaminants of environmental concern.”
“Our federal advocacy committees are the voices of what’s happening on the ground in our communities,” said Kathy Maness, councilmember of Lexington, South Carolina, and President of NLC. “I am proud to have Ellen Smith join NLC’s EENR committee on behalf of her residents. Together with a team of local leaders from around the country, we will work to solve the most pressing challenges facing our communities.”
Smith, who is retired from the Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL), where she was an environmental scientist on the research staff of the Environmental Sciences Division, has served on the EENR committee since 2016. She was a Vice Chair of the committee for the year 2019-2020. Previously, before her election to City Council, she served many years on the city Environmental Quality Advisory Board (EQAB).
“Our City and state continue to benefit greatly from Councilwoman Smith’s service and now, her knowledge can be shared on the national level. We are very proud of her and fortunate to have her as a member of our City Council,” Oak Ridge Mayor Warren Gooch said.
“Her expertise and experience will be a valuable asset to NLC’s EENR Advocacy Committee,” a Tennessee Municipal League release stated.
Smith will lead the EENR committee along with Vice Chairs Cindy Dyballa, a council member of Takoma Park, Maryland, and Adrian Hernandez, a council member of Pearland, Texas.