America’s 10th and longest serving Secretary of Energy, former U.S. Senator Spencer Abraham began his tenure as Secretary of Energy in the midst of a severe energy crisis that included the California blackouts, declining domestic energy supplies and insufficient international energy trade opportunities. In response, he helped President Bush devise America’s first national energy plan in over a decade and oversaw its implementation. As part of this plan, he led efforts to broaden America’s international energy partnerships, working with China, Japan, Russia, the E.U., countries in South America and Africa and certain OPEC nations. According to the Presidential Management Agenda scorecard, the Department of Energy went from “worst to first” of well-run agencies under Secretary Abraham’s leadership.
Abraham’s timely recent book, Lights Out!: Ten Myths About (and Real Solutions to) America’s Energy Crisis (July 2010), debunks the myths that warp our current debate over energy, and offers new solutions to the real problems we face in America. Spencer effectively answers how America and the world can overcome the challenges of rising global energy demand, geopolitical disruptions of the energy marketplace, and the environmental impact of producing and using energy. Abraham provides a pragmatic energy strategy that calls for blending a variety of energy sources including nuclear, clean coal, solar, wind, and natural gas with a more determined effort at improving energy efficiency through the deployment of smart energy grids and buildings, to help meet our challenges while preserving our economy and environment.
Faced almost immediately with the energy and safety issues of the post 9/11 world, Secretary Abraham distinguished himself by revitalizing and refocusing the Department of Energy on the new homeland security challenges our country faced. Abraham saw to the safety of America’s nuclear stockpiles while he played a key international role by dramatically expanding the Department’s focus on nuclear nonproliferation programs, negotiating with Russia and other former Soviet states. He created new safeguarding plans that the Washington Post called “great gifts to the nation from Abraham.”
Prior to being named Secretary of Energy, Abraham served as an effective and highly productive U.S. Senator from Michigan for six years, where he was the author of 22 pieces of legislation signed into law—an unprecedented accomplishment for a freshman senator. He also chaired two subcommittees: Manufacturing and Competitiveness and Immigration. Always on the cutting edge, he became a leading advocate for technological issues and was one of the first politicians to recognize the importance of establishing a relationship with Silicon Valley’s technological entrepreneurs and business leaders. He authored three particularly ground-breaking pieces of technology legislation: the Electronic Signature in Global and National Commerce Act, the Government Paperwork and Elimination Act, and the Anti-Cybersquatting Consumer Protection Act. All three were landmarks in the governance of cyberspace and the use of important new technology. A strong supporter of the business community, Abraham consistently endorsed policies that enhanced America’s competitiveness and global leadership.
At the podium, Abraham brings his insight of nearly two decades at the highest levels of domestic and international policy and politics. He explains current geo-political situations and shares his recommendations for the future. As energy usage continues to spiral upward, the search for new sources of energy becomes more and more important to both the public and private sector. These emerging markets will be of great importance to domestic and international business over the coming decade.
Spencer Abraham is a frequent contributor to FOX News, and was recently named Chairman of the Board of AREVA Inc, the US subsidiary of the Paris-based AREVA Group. He also sits on the Occidental Petroleum Board of Directors.
Abraham and his wife, Jane, are the parents of three children. He holds a law degree from Harvard University, where he co-founded the Federalist Society, and is a native of East Lansing, Michigan.