Mayor Lori E. Lightfoot recently announced Angela Tovar will serve as the City of Chicago’s Chief Sustainability Officer. An extensive, nationwide search was conducted to identify the best candidate for the role, which is currently filled by Acting Chief Sustainability Officer Elise Zelechowski. Tovar brings a unique policy skillset focused on racial equity, deep community relationships across the City and a demonstrated track record of combining environmental justice, public health and inclusive economic growth. She will serve a vital role within the administration to help advance the mayor’s environmental and climate agenda.
“I am proud to have Angela joining our team in this critical role for the health of our city’s communities and residents,” said Mayor Lightfoot. “As the COVID-19 crisis has shown us, our everyday environment has a direct impact on our individual health and wellness, and I look forward to working with her in our shared mission to hold violators accountable and tackle the widespread injustices that have impacted our neighborhoods for generations. All of which will be rooted in our values of equity and inclusion that enhances our vision of a better, stronger, and cleaner Chicago for every one of us.”
Angela Tovar joins the City with over fifteen years of experience in nonprofit administration, urban sustainability, policy, environmental and climate justice and community planning. She will report directly to Chief of Policy Dan Lurie and work closely with all City departments to craft and align high priority policy goals, as well as manage external relationships with a range of stakeholders from community advocates to local and national policy experts.
“I am thrilled to join Mayor Lightfoot in advancing a robust climate and sustainability agenda that is rooted in equity and is aimed at mitigating environmental harm in our most overburdened communities,” Tovar said. “I carry with me a strong commitment to build partnerships with stakeholders throughout the City of Chicago to help uplift community-based solutions and to create new opportunities for our most underserved residents.”
Most recently Tovar served as a Program Manager at the Cook County Department of Environment and Sustainability, building strategic partnerships with Cook County municipalities on their sustainability goals. In that role she oversaw the creation of an environmental justice screening tool in coordination with UIC, Cook County GIS and additional stakeholders. She also helped advance various clean energy initiatives including the newly launched Cook County Solar Schools and helped lead Cook County’s five-year Policy Roadmap.
Prior to her most current role, Tovar served as the Director of Community Development at The Point CDC and the Director of Policy and Research at Sustainable South Bronx in the Bronx, New York City. She is a native of the South Chicago neighborhood in Chicago and a graduate of Hunter College at the City University of New York in its Master of Urban Planning program. Prior to that she earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Urban Studies from the College of Charleston.
This appointment is the Lightfoot administration’s latest effort to build an environmental policy agenda that can both support community needs and vision, address racial disparities in health and wealth, and help invest public and private dollars towards inclusive economic growth. The administration has made progress toward its aggressive 2025 and 2035 environmental goals, including harnessing more renewable energy to power municipal buildings, reduce the amount of greenhouse gases, and advancing efforts for the adoption of electric vehicles throughout the city.