Today’s MI Environment edition talks with Claire Handley about her fellowship with Govern for America, an organization that works to build the next generation of public sector leaders to create more diverse, effective, and responsive government. Handley is one of seven EGLE staffers who is a fellow with the Govern for America program. The others are Zach Chamberlin, Nadir Chaudhry, Ashley Fuller, Courtney Fung, Lisa Thomas, and Lance Wood.
How long you have worked for EGLE and what are your responsibilities?
About four and half years. I started in December 2017. I oversee compliance, respond to complaints, and inspect facilities permitted under Groundwater Discharge and National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) programs in the EGLE Cadillac District Office.
What is your background?
I am a native Michigander and have great pride in the resources of our state. I have always found nature to be a source of recharge for me. I was fortunate enough to be able to focus my studies on the environment. I have a Bachelor of Science degree from the University of Michigan in Program in the Environment (PitE) with a specialization in Wildlife Ecology. I learned the importance of service and education through a native internship partnered with AmeriCorps at ACE Basin National Wildlife Refuge in South Carolina. I was also able to work for the Ohio Department of Natural Resources at Old Woman Creek, gathering water quality and fisheries data.
What did Govern for America highlight about your work during Public Service Recognition Week?
I am a 2021 Govern for America fellow. Govern for America bridges the gap between governments and emerging leaders to build a pipeline of diverse and dynamic public sector talent. During Public Service Recognition Week, I was highlighted by GFA, stating that I serve because I want to protect and improve the surface and groundwater quality for recreation, drinking water, and designated uses for my family, my neighbors, and all citizens of Michigan. These are some of the reasons that I want to build a career in public service.
What attracted you to public service?
Through my experiences with state and federal government, I came to the conclusion that regulators are needed to ensure public resources and designated uses are protected for the citizens of our state and country. I believe being a public servant is a way to give back to the communities that I live and work in by implementing state laws and ensuring that our waters are not being polluted. I believe there should be equitable access to our natural resources and that everyone should be able to use the environment around their communities without worrying if it is safe to interact with. I hope that through my work, the water resources of the state will be improved over time.
How did Govern for America publicize your work?
Govern for America posted about my work on Instagram and Facebook. They highlighted my work at the bottom of their webpage.