Women of Influence 2024: Julie Tighe

This article was originally published by Crain's New York

The following article can be viewed on the Crain’s New York website here.

For Julie Tighe, even the occasional bad day has its payoff: “Every day may not be a great day, but every day I know I’m working on something good.”

A stalwart champion of the environment, Tighe works every day — the good days and the bad — to improve the air New Yorkers breathe, the water they drink and the land they live and work on. At the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation from 2007 to 2018, she helped reform the state’s brownfield cleanup program, achieve reauthorization of the state superfund program to clean up hazard waste sites, shape New York’s Clean Water Infrastructure Act, and bring forth a comprehensive electronics recycling law.

Now as president of the New York League of Conservation Voters since 2018, Tighe has continued her campaign to clean up and preserve the environment for present and future generations. The league’s support helped pass the Accelerated Renewable Energy Growth and Community Benefit Act. In 2022 she helped spearhead a coalition of labor, business, environmental and civic groups to pass the $4.2 billion Clean Water, Clear Air and Green Jobs Environmental Bond Act, which provides funds to protect water quality, reduce pollution and create green adaptations to climate change.

Even as New York has stepped forward as one of the most progressive states on environmental stewardship, Tighe still has a long to-do list. Her organization publishes a policy agenda for state government each year and follows that up with a scorecard of how each issue fared, and which of the Legislature’s 213 members and 51 City Council members were most supportive of the league’s goals. The scorecard has become a crucial accountability measure at election time, where the $3.49 million organization punches above its weight. Tighe focuses on using her influence to push for a shared agenda. “What you bring to the table for others around you is important,” she said. “I am trying to use my tools to help my organization and groups that I am working with to help everyone achieve goals.”

By the numbers:

REACH About 63% of the candidates endorsed by the New York League of Conservation Voters in 2021 primary elections won their races.

WHAT’S NEXT Tighe says she’s ready to move forward on congestion pricing and the passage of laws for a clean fuel standard for transportation, smart packaging and waste-reduction recycling.

04.02.24 // AUTHOR: admin //