Arizona Gov. Creates ‘Chief Heat Officer’ Position

Eric Scheiner | March 8, 2024
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The chief of relief is on his way in Arizona. Democratic Governor Katie Hobbs has announced a new position “Chief Heat Officer” as part of her new “Extreme Heat Preparedness Plan.”

In a “letter from the governor” Hobbs explains that even though most people understand that Arizona gets hot, now there is a need for a new position and more taxpayer money.

“We know, however, that temperatures have been rising steadily from decade to decade, and each year brings an increase in heat-caused and heat-related deaths and illnesses from the year before. That’s why we must take proactive steps to build a sustainable and resilient state,” Hobbs said.

The plan looks to create improved cooling coordination (hence the new ‘Chief Heat Officer position’) and the new plan encourages seeking out more federal funding.

ADHS proposes to close gaps in heat-related awareness and resources available to community members and partners. Consultations with stakeholders have found that there is need in a variety of areas to improve Arizona’s heat preparedness, including:

    • ○  Increased expertise and capacity in undersourced jurisdictions,
    • ○  Affordable, convenient public transportation to critical resources,
    • ○  Improvements in power infrastructure in Tribal and rural areas, as well  
    •     as at hospitals and medical clinics,
    • ○  Re-greened public spaces with natural and artificial shade
    • ○  Awareness and support for federal funding opportunities

Dr. Eugene Livar has been named as the Chief Heat Officer in charge of executing the plan. It's believed he's prepared to take the hot seat.

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