At a Glance
- Career History: Administrator, Connecticut Department of Environmental Protection (2004 to 2009); Deputy Secretary of Operations, Massachusetts Office of Commonwealth Development (2003 to 2004); Assistant secretary of Pollution Prevention, Environmental Business and Technology for Massachusetts (1999 to 2003)
- Hometown: Boston, Mass.
- Alma Mater: University of Massachusetts at Boston, B.A. (Social Anthropology), 1976; Tufts University, joint M.S. (Environmental health Engineering / Planning and Policy)
- Religion: Catholic
- Office: Office of Air and RadiationUS EPA1200 Pennsylvania Avenue, NWWashington, DC 20760(866) 411-4372
- Web site
Path to Power
Raised Irish-Catholic, McCarthy grew up in the Dorchester neighborhood of South Boston before moving with her family to the southern suburb of Canton along with much of South Boston's Irish community.
McCarthy attended college close to home at the University of Massachusetts at Boston, where she earned a B.A. in social anthropology in 1976.
During her long tenure as a state pollution-prevention expert, McCarthy has worked on everything from brownfields redevelopment to mercury reduction to environmental technology. She has made great strides in cleaning up Long Island Sound and in preventing air pollution.
"People who are environmentally-friendly are not competing with growth," she wrote in 2004. "I'm not a tree hugger, I'm a people hugger, concerned with people's need for clean air and water."
McCarthy worked in the administration of then-Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney (R).
A Massachusetts native, McCarthy had the support of Sen. Edward M. Kennedy (D-Mass.), who testified on her behalf at her 2009 Senate confirmation hearing.
McCarthy contributed $1,000 to Barack Obama's presidential campaign in summer 2008.