Northam appoints new Secretary of Natural and Historic Resources

RICHMOND—Governor Ralph Northam named Ann Jennings as the new Secretary of State for Natural and Historical Resources on Wednesday.

“Virginia’s water and air are cleaner today because we’ve made historic investments in Virginia’s natural resources over the past four years.” said Governor Northam. “We have secured more funding for Chesapeake Bay than any other government before. We’re committed to clean energy with the largest offshore wind farm in the country being built off the coast of Virginia Beach. We are breaking new ground in terms of coastal resilience and environmental justice. Ann Jennings has been a leader in this work, and as Secretary, she will ensure that Virginia continues that dynamic. “

Jennings was Assistant Secretary for Natural and Historical Resources with primary responsibility for Chesapeake Bay. She was also the director of the Chesapeake Bay Commission in Virginia, a three-state legislative commission created to advise the Maryland, Pennsylvania, and Virginia general assemblies on matters of Bay-wide concern.

The appointment comes as the Chesapeake Executive Council prepares for a meeting in Virginia Beach next week. The council includes the governors of the six river basins, the mayor of the District of Columbia, the chairman of the Chesapeake Bay Commission, and the administrator of the US Environmental Protection Agency. The committee sets the guidelines for the restoration and protection of the Chesapeake Bay.

Prior to joining the state government, Jennings served as the Virginia Executive Director of the Chesapeake Bay Foundation. Her career also includes working as a biologist with the US Fish and Wildlife Service. Jennings is originally from Virginia Beach and holds a bachelor’s degree in biology from Virginia Tech and a master’s degree in wildlife and fisheries science from Texas A&M University. She is a graduate of the Virginia Natural Resources Leadership Institute and the Political Leaders Program of the Sorensen Institute.

Matt Strickler, the outgoing Secretary of State for Natural and Historical Resources, is pursuing new opportunities where he will continue his excellent work of protecting our nation’s resources. He began working with the governor in 2008 as a legislative assistant in the office of then Senator Northam. Strickler has served in the cabinet since Governor Northam took office in 2018.

“We will miss Secretary Strickler and wish him all the best in his future endeavors”, said Governor Northam. “I want to thank Matt for everything he has done for the people of the Commonwealth during his time in this administration. His work to purify the air and water in Virginia over the past four years has directly benefited the health, well-being and life of everyone who lives here. “