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Director of Policy and Government Affairs

Director of Policy and Government Affairs
Organization: Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS)
Location: Washington, DC
Date Posted: 02/07/2024

Our organization

The Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS) is an independent nonprofit that puts rigorous, independent science into action, developing solutions and advocating for a healthy, safe, and just future. We envision a peaceful, healthy, and just world where science serves people and the planet by guiding policy decisions, reducing risks, and improving lives.

For over five decades, we have been working as scientists, engineers, economists, advocates, and everyday people to create and advocate for innovative, practical solutions to some of our planet’s most pressing problems—from combating global warming and developing sustainable ways to feed, power, and transport ourselves, to fighting misinformation, advancing racial equity, and reducing the threat of nuclear war. Values informing our work include:

  • Science in the service of people and the planet.
  • Justice and Equity for people of all races and incomes—now, and for future generations.
  • Courage to take principled, science-based stands in the public arena.
  • Integrity to always examine evidence critically, openly, and honestly.
  • Democracy to promote a voice for all in government decisions.
  • Action inspiring and mobilizing people to build a healthier, safer, and more just world.

UCS’s Clean Transportation Program

The Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS) is seeking to hire a Director of Policy and Government Affairs for the Clean Transportation program. We are looking for a strategic, creative transportation policy leader who is attuned to equity and justice and has a strong track record of effectively managing staff, projects, and relationships.

UCS’s Clean Transportation program is working to transform the transportation system to one that protects public health and our climate; provides affordable, convenient access to all, and prioritizes benefits to historically marginalized communities. We achieve this by leveraging our scientific analysis and expertise, political power, and Science Network, through partnerships and coalitions, and in campaigns that are informed by our relationships with frontline and other impacted communities.

Our goals include:

  • A transition to 100% zero-emissions vehicles (both passenger and heavy-duty).
  • An equitable transportation system that reduces reliance on driving while safely, reliably, and affordably connects all people with the places, resources, and communities they need to thrive.
  • A clean, safe, and fair transition from a petroleum-powered transportation system to one powered by renewable electricity, that minimizes the public health impacts of current and new fuel production.
  • Centering grassroots-supported solutions and ensuring workers and impacted communities have a seat at decision-making tables.

The Position


Lead the Clean Transportation program’s efforts to develop and advance policy objectives at the federal level, and in key states as needed.

  • Lead, oversee, and facilitate the development of new UCS policy positions.
  • Act as lead decisionmaker on requests for UCS to support federal legislation related to clean transportation, or to join sign-on letters addressing federal decision-makers on clean transportation issues.
  • Establish and maintain effective working relationships with congressional representatives and their staff, administration and agency officials, advocates from allied organizations, and other stakeholders.
  • Write and edit materials for use on the Hill and ensure the quality of advocacy/campaign material developed by government affairs, analytic, and outreach staff.

Represent UCS in coalitions and to external stakeholders including media and the public.

  • Lead and support coalitions and/or working groups of coalitions that UCS participates in.
  • Serve as a public spokesperson for UCS. Respond to press inquiries on select clean transportation issues. Author blogs, op-eds, and other statements.
  • Contribute to Clean Transportation Program funder proposals and reports and join funder calls as needed.

Lead CT policy and government affairs team and work across UCS to ensure coordination and effective execution of priorities.

  • Effectively develop and communicate a clear delineation of responsibility for CT priorities on the Hill, with the administration, and relevant agencies.
  • Convene regular meetings of government affairs staff to identify priority Administration and Hill meetings & communications, determine when/how to deploy members and experts, and ways to further advance UCS’ role as a trusted and influential resource for policymakers.
  • Hold regular check-ins with supervisees (currently two Senior Washington Representatives, with the potential to supervise additional staff and interns, volunteers, or consultants). Provide mentorship to help supervisees build skills and make progress toward professional development goals.


Qualifications and Experience

Position requires:

  • 10+ years of comparable and relative experience to include issue campaign development, a thorough understanding of advocacy campaigns and the legislative process, advocacy skills, project management, policy expertise, and an understanding of political organizing and planning/strategy development at the federal level, with an understanding and experience of similar issues at the state level preferred.
  • Policy expertise in some aspects of clean transportation, such as electric vehicles, vehicle efficiency and air quality standards, low-carbon fuels, and public transportation.
  • 3+ years of supervisory experience and experience working with interdisciplinary teams.
  • Demonstrated experience engaging with campaigns, coalitions, and partners with diverse policy perspectives.
  • Understanding of, and experience with, integrating justice and equity perspectives into policy advocacy and analytics.
  • Demonstrated ability to manage multiple priorities and deadlines effectively in a fast-paced work environment.
  • Skills in public speaking, taking media inquiries, and strong written communication (including an ability to synthesize science in layperson-friendly ways) strongly preferred.
  • Training or experience in project management preferred.

May spend extended periods at computer. Routine travel within the Washington, DC area is anticipated, as well as five to fifteen days of overnight domestic travel per year (for events such as team retreats, UCS Board of Directors and National Advisory Board meetings, conferences, and meetings with external stakeholders).

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