Hearings - Testimony
Full Committee
Nominations Hearing
Thursday, September 22, 2005
Lyons Gray
Nominated by the President to be the Chief Financial Officer of the Environmental Protection Agency

Mr. Chairman, Senator Jeffords, and Members of the Committee, it is a privilege to appear before you today as the nominee for Chief Financial Officer of the U. S. Environmental Protection Agency. I would like to thank Senator Burr for his kind introduction, and I would like to introduce to you my family who are here with me today: my wife, Connie; our two daughters, Charlotte and Fraser; and our son-in-law, Cameron.

It is a tremendous honor to have been nominated by President George W. Bush for a position responsible for safeguarding public resources–both financial resources and natural ones. I’d also like to thank Administrator Steve Johnson for his faith in recommending me for this key position. EPA staff are well-known for their commitment to the Agency’s mission of protecting human health and the environment. I share their commitment, and I pledge to you that if I have the honor of being confirmed, I will ensure that the Agency’s environmental efforts are supported by sound financial management on behalf of the American people.

I would like to tell you about some of my experience that I believe would be useful in the job for which you are considering me.

At the beginning of my career, I worked in sales and marketing in the private sector, and I received an on-the-job education. With responsibility for introducing a new consumer product, I had to think through every aspect of the project from start to finish, from creation through delivery. This experience in corporate America taught me how to follow through on a project, considering all the relevant financial issues along with product development and delivery, and it gave me a solid foundation for every step I’ve taken since.

It prepared me to own my own business. My experiences as a small business owner gave me an appreciation for the energy and business acumen that are needed to support a successful concern. If I am confirmed, I hope to bring the same energy and business sense to supporting EPA’s successful operations.

I would be honored if confirmed to the CFO position because it would allow me to return to the public sector. It was my great privilege to serve for 13 years in the General Assembly of the State of North Carolina. During that time, I was fortunate to serve as a Member of the House Finance Committee and as its Chair for four years. In that capacity, I participated in every aspect of the development and oversight of the $14 billion budget for the State of North Carolina and gained valuable experience in reconciling a range of priorities–all of them important–with available resources. I was closely involved in the State’s budget process and especially with the work of the conference committee in which differences were worked out between the State’s House and Senate. This experience has given me a genuine appreciation for the challenges of decision making when public priorities are in the balance. If you honor me with confirmation, I look forward to working closely with you and the other Members of Congress who are charged with making similar hard decisions.

Most recently, I have enjoyed the opportunity to work in the nonprofit sector, and this has allowed me to bring together what I have learned in both business and the State legislature for the benefit of my local community. As President of the Downtown Winston-Salem Partnership, I led an advocacy group to re-energize and rebuild what I think of as one of America’s greatest downtown communities–although I admit that is because it is my home town. My responsibilities included the administrative leadership of a Downtown Foundation which raised funds to create a low-interest loan program which provided gap financing to get new restaurants, shops, and entertainment venues up and running. Apart from the great personal satisfaction of giving back to my community, I also took away from this experience a greater understanding of how financial and environmental issues can be addressed–together–to help revitalize American communities.

Finally, it has been my great privilege to serve for the past three years as Chairman of EPA’s Environmental Financial Advisory Board, chartered under the Federal Advisory Committee Act. The Board provides advice and analysis to EPA's Administrator on how to pay for the growing costs of environmental protection and how to increase investment in environmental infrastructure through the leveraging of public and private resources. I am proud of the Board’s work on behalf of the Agency, our principal client. The financial expertise of the Board’s members is truly excellent, and the working relationship I have enjoyed with our Designated Federal Official, Stan Meiburg, has been equally so. If I am confirmed as CFO, I know that I will have the pleasure of working with dedicated people who share a commitment to EPA’s mission.

Mr Chairman, public service is a gift we give back to our country. I am very grateful for your time today and for the committee’s consideration of my nomination. I would be pleased to answer any questions.

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