A Welcome from Our New Director

Date: 
Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Deborah O. Raphael - Director of the Department of the EnvironmentSome people say you can never come home, but for me, there is nothing sweeter than this homecoming. 

While these are the first days of my role as director, I am not a newcomer to the San Francisco Department of the Environment. I started with the department back in 1999 when we were less than a handful of staff, and I have been an active participant in its evolution ever since. Three years ago, I took the leap to a state-wide stage and was honored to serve as the director of California’s Department of Toxic Substances Control. It was incredibly important and rewarding work and I came away with great appreciation for the difficult task of the environmental regulator. But my heart was in local government and when the opportunity came to return to this wonderful city and lead this department, it was an easy choice.

I am a scientist by training so I am very data-driven. At the department, we will carefully examine our actions and programs and listen to the needs and feedback from our neighborhood and business partners. We will use this information to continue the evolution of environmental leadership that has propelled San Francisco onto the international stage while never losing sight of our responsibility to support and protect the environment and people in our own backyard.

I bring with me a strong belief in the importance of healing the planet and I believe that everyone deserves a voice. Government is meant to serve both people and the environment and I know that I share these beliefs with my colleagues here in the department. I look forward to tapping into the tremendous potential of staff as well as the good will and dedication of the city’s residents, businesses, and governmental agencies. By working together, we can create inspiring solutions for our families, community and environment. 

I am thrilled to be back in San Francisco, to build new partnerships and to strengthen existing ones. We have much to celebrate and much more work yet to be done. And it will take a collaborative effort to achieve the ambitious goals already set, and the new ones we’ll create together, in order to turn our collective vision for the city into reality.

I look forward to meeting and working with all of you.

Debbie