Capital Movers: Susan Glickman
Around the State
Tallahassee is like a second home for Susan Glickman. Though she lives in Tampa, the lobbyist for renewable energy and environmental concerns has been a frequent presence in the Florida capital for years.
Glickman is a major force behind the Clean Energy Congress being held in Tallahassee Monday and Tuesday. As a sponsor of the meeting, Glickman, who has lobbied in the Legislature and in Congress, is presiding over legions of lobbyists, businesses and lawmakers attempting to push the state to create renewable portfolio standards (RPS), which would require Florida utilities to eventually generate a fraction of their electric power from wind, solar or other clean resources.
Glickman took a couple of minutes to speak with Sunshine State News about her career, life and goals for the conference.
What is your profession? Lobbyist for Southern Alliance for Clean Energy and the Natural Resources Defense Council, and director of the Florida Business Network for Green Energy Economy.
Where were you born and where do you live now? I was born in Tampa, Fla., and I was raised there. I went to parochial schools in Tampa: St. John’s Episcopal Day School and the Academy of the Holy Names. I live in Pinellas County now.
Where did you go to college? Florida State University for two years and then transferred to the University of Texas at Austin, where I got my undergraduate degree in speech communication.
What are some key moments from your career? I got involved in politics by being involved in campaigns. My brother, Ron Glickman, was a Hillsborough County commissioner in 1984, and I got involved in those campaigns. And then I got into more issue-oriented work. I spent five years working with the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, so I was working on tobacco policy and working around the tobacco-prevention program. Then I worked with the Johns Hopkins School of Public Health on the Trust for America’s Health, where we got Congress to fund pilot projects and now actually have a full-blown, nationwide health tracking system. It links environmental hazards with chronic illness, and that’s what brought me into the energy work. My first project on climate was in 2001, and I started to work with the World Wildlife Fund for the Bonn talks. We were attempting to influence President George W. Bush to not stand in the way of other countries going into the Kyoto Protocol. Then I was working for Southern Alliance for Clean Energy in 2003.
What has been your biggest success? Senate Bill 888 was the very first time the words “global warming” were uttered on the floor of the Legislature as part of forming the Florida Energy Commission in 2006. We got them to start a stakeholder-involved Co2-emission regulation process that resulted in the governor‘s climate and energy report. It was a nine-month-long process, where they came up with suggestions for (dealing with) greenhouse gas in the state. So I think the greatest accomplishment was in the early days, being the first person to talk about climate and energy.
My role with that has blossomed into a real economic opportunity and job creation opportunity in the state. What once was thought to be an environmental issue is now thought to be an environmental and economic opportunity.
What did you accomplish with the Clean Energy Congress today? The Clean Energy Congress has really broken new ground. Never before has such a broad array of stakeholder interests in the energy arena been assembled. We had a packed house today with as diverse interests as community gardening, the Florida Catholic Conference, and the Florida Medical Association. We had solar energy providers and biofuel providers.
What has been the biggest disappointment in your career? I think it's the economic opportunities Florida has been missing by sitting on the sidelines for the past few years. When Gov. Charlie Crist, in 2007, held his first climate summit and issued his first executive orders, he showed prophetic leadership in positioning Florida to benefit from this low-carbon economy. And because the Legislature did not put these policies in place, and sort of started to play political football, we’ve been sitting on the sidelines.
Almost daily, someone tells me about a renewable energy plant that didn’t get built, a business that didn’t get moved to Florida, some investment that didn’t get moved to the state, jobs that didn‘t happen. So that’s my biggest disappointment.
What was the best advice you’ve gotten about how to do your job? I don’t think there was any one person. I went to an all-girl Catholic school, and I think that that experience gave me not only the confidence to be comfortable speaking out on important issues, but also to not be afraid to advocate for something that was unpopular. I just think that the spirit of that, where girls are inspired to be leaders, helped form a big part of who I am.
What are your interests outside of work? The love of my life, Robert, and I go to the Tampa Bay Bucks all the time. I’m a big music fan; I love to go to live music. I also like to go to the beach. I live across the street from one of the most beautiful beaches.
Reach Alex Tiegen at firstname.lastname@example.org or (561)329-5389.