Director of Policy and Government Affairs

Director of Policy and Government Affairs

Hybrid Washington, District of Columbia, United States Clean Transportation Full time



Director of Policy and Government Affairs

Clean Transportation Program

Union of Concerned Scientists

Remote/Hybrid – located near Washington, DC

Bargaining Unit Position: No

Our organization

The Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS) is an independent nonprofit that puts rigorous, independent science into action, developing solutions and advocating for a healthy, safe, and just future. We envision a peaceful, healthy, and just world where science serves people and the planet by guiding policy decisions, reducing risks, and improving lives.

For over five decades, we have been working as scientists, engineers, economists, advocates, and everyday people to create and advocate for innovative, practical solutions to some of our planet’s most pressing problems—from combating global warming and developing sustainable ways to feed, power, and transport ourselves, to fighting disinformation, advancing racial equity, and reducing the threat of nuclear war. Values informing our work include:

  • Science in the service of people and the planet.
  • Justice and Equity for people of all races and incomes—now, and for future generations.
  • Courage to take principled, science-based stands in the public arena.
  • Integrity to always examine evidence critically, openly, and honestly.
  • Democracy to promote a voice for all in government decisions.
  • Action inspiring and mobilizing people to build a healthier, safer, and more just world.

UCS’s Clean Transportation Program

The Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS) is seeking to hire a Director of Policy and Government Affairs for the Clean Transportation program. We are looking for a strategic, creative transportation policy leader who is attuned to equity and justice and has a strong track record of effectively managing staff, projects, and relationships.

UCS’s Clean Transportation program is working to transform the transportation system to one that protects public health and our climate; provides affordable, convenient access to all, and prioritizes benefits to historically marginalized communities. We achieve this by leveraging our scientific analysis and expertise, political power, and Science Network, through partnerships and coalitions, and in campaigns that are informed by our relationships with frontline and other impacted communities.

Our goals include:

  • A transition to 100% zero-emissions vehicles (both passenger and heavy-duty).
  • An equitable transportation system that reduces reliance on driving while safely, reliably, and affordably connects all people with the places, resources, and communities they need to thrive.
  • A clean, safe, and fair transition from a petroleum-powered transportation system to one powered by renewable electricity, that minimizes the public health impacts of current and new fuel production.
  • Centering grassroots-supported solutions and ensuring workers and impacted communities have a seat at decision making tables.

The Position

Direct and lead Clean Transportation’s efforts to develop, socialize, and implement strategic policy objectives at the federal level, and in key states as needed. Play leading role in coordinating analysts, advocacy, and outreach staff contributions to achieve our federal campaign goals. Advocate CT’s policy agendas with Congress, the Executive Branch, non-governmental organizations, industry, and other allied groups. Represent UCS in coalitions, before media and the public. Manage policy staff in executing government affairs activities. Part of senior leadership team for program involved in program wide management around strategy, mission and vision development, and operations.


Lead the Clean Transportation program’s efforts to develop and advance policy objectives at the federal level, and in key states as needed.

  • Lead, oversee, and facilitate the development of new UCS policy positions. Work with the Program Director, Policy, and Government Affairs team, other UCS staff, and external stakeholders to identify guiding principles, define analytic and other resource needs to achieve policy objectives, develop policy positions, recommendations, and legislative/administrative proposals, and help ensure that equity implications of our policy positions are appropriately considered. Socialize draft positions and maintain a transparent record of decision making.
  • Act as lead decisionmaker on requests for UCS to support federal legislation related to clean transportation, or to join sign-on letters addressing federal decisionmakers on clean transportation issues.
  • Establish and maintain effective working relationships with congressional representatives and their staff, administration and agency officials, advocates from allied organizations, and other stakeholders. Oversee and participate in the creation of legislative and administrative initiatives promoting or supporting UCS policies. Lead advocacy activities such as meeting with administration officials and congressional staff, lobby days, etc. Provide and oversee UCS input into legislation and regulation and assist in producing desired legislative and regulatory outcomes.
  • Write and edit materials for use on the Hill and ensure quality of advocacy/campaign material developed by government affairs, analytic, and outreach staff. Review program media statements, written reports, testimony, and other key documents.
  • Monitor the policy landscape for program priority issues, including vehicle electrification, vehicle efficiency, EV charging infrastructure, low-carbon fuels, public transportation, and reducing car dependency. Maintain working knowledge of transportation policy issues and legislation, and clean transportation technologies and their applications.

Represent UCS in coalitions and to external stakeholders including media and the public.   

  • Lead and support coalitions and/or working groups of coalitions that UCS participates in.  
  • Represent UCS at meetings of organizations/coalitions that are pursuing similar goals, and in consultation with other CT staff, coordinate lobbying, outreach, and media work with these other organizations.  
  • Serve as a public spokesperson for UCS. Respond to press inquiries on select clean transportation issues. Author blogs, op-eds, and other statements. Participate in public events and conferences as a representative of UCS. Present information on clean transportation policy to regulators, legislative committees, civic and community organizations, conference attendees, and other stakeholders.
  • Contribute to Clean Transportation Program funder proposals and reports and join funder calls as needed.   

Lead CT policy and government affairs team and work across UCS to ensure coordination and effective execution of priorities.

  • Effectively develop and communicate clear delineation of responsibility for CT priorities on the Hill, with the administration, and relevant agencies. Communicate regularly with direct reports, federal campaign staff, and CT leadership to ensure that strategic, substantive, operational, resource, and prioritization questions are resolved in a timely fashion with clear guidance given to staff as to action steps and timeframes.
  • Convene regular meetings of government affairs staff to identify priority Administration and Hill meetings & communications, determine when/how to deploy members and experts, and ways to further advance UCS’ role as a trusted and influential resource for policymakers.
  • Hold regular check-ins with supervisees (currently two Senior Washington Representatives, with the potential to supervise additional staff and interns, volunteers, or consultants). Work with supervisees to develop individual programmatic goals. Provide mentorship to help supervisees build skills and make progress toward professional development goals.
  • Provide strategic input on government affairs priorities to UCS’s Executive Team, Board of Directors, and National Advisory Board as needed.
  • Represent Clean Transportation in internal UCS coordination spaces, such as the weekly Federal Action Campaign Team and cross-programmatic working groups on overlapping priorities or coalition work such as on labor and environmental justice issues. Coordinate advocacy activities and campaign needs with UCS development, communications, and administrative staff. 

As part of program leadership team, contribute to program-wide management of strategy, mission and vision development, and operations.

  • With the Deputy and Research Director and National Campaign Director, participate in regular program leadership meetings. Provide strategic guidance and recommendations to the Program Director on policy issues and internal priorities.
  • Provide policy and political guidance to inform the Clean Transportation team’s annual and longer-term campaign planning processes.
  • Help advance major programmatic efforts and provide input on decisions, planning, priority-setting, budgets, and personnel to help strengthen the program’s long-term impact.
  • Provide leadership in program’s ongoing work to craft decision-making structures, processes, systems, and ways of working together that are rooted in anti-racist practice and that support a culture where BIPOC staff can thrive.

As needed, manage, or co-manage campaign and project work for defined issue areas, such as a campaign, sub-campaign, or initiative. Within these issue areas:

  • Develop strategies for advocacy and coalition engagement.
  • Run regular campaign/project check-in meetings and serve as project manager for the development of publications, advocacy materials, and other deliverables.
  • In coordination with the Campaign Director, lead planning processes to inform the development of Clean Transportation annual and longer-term plans.


Qualifications and Experience

Position requires:

  • 10+ years of comparable and relative experience to include issue campaign development, a thorough understanding of advocacy campaigns and the legislative process, advocacy skills, project management, policy expertise, and an understanding of political organizing and planning/strategy development at the federal level, with an understanding and experience of similar issues at the state level preferred.
  • Policy expertise in some aspects of clean transportation, such as electric vehicles, vehicle efficiency and air quality standards, low-carbon fuels, and public transportation.
  • 3+ years of supervisory experience and experience working with interdisciplinary teams.
  • Demonstrated experience engaging with campaigns, coalitions, and partners with diverse policy perspectives.
  • Understanding of, and experience with, integrating justice and equity perspectives into policy advocacy and analytics.
  • Demonstrated ability to manage multiple priorities and deadlines effectively in a fast-paced work environment.
  • Skills in public speaking, taking media inquiries, and strong written communication (including an ability to synthesize science in layperson-friendly ways) strongly preferred.
  • Training or experience in project management preferred.

Degrees can be substituted for comparable training and/or experience when appropriate.

May spend extended periods at computer. Routine travel within the Washington, DC area is anticipated, as well as five to fifteen days of overnight domestic travel per year (for events such as team retreats, UCS Board of Directors and National Advisory Board meetings, conferences, and meetings with external stakeholders).

UCS is an equal opportunity employer actively seeking to diversify its staff. We’re dedicated to broadening opportunities for individuals from demographic groups that are historically underrepresented in the sciences and in environmental advocacy. We’re also committed to building an inclusive workplace culture where talented people of widely diverse backgrounds can thrive. We believe the inclusion of culturally diverse perspectives will improve our work and produce better societal and environmental outcomes for all, including historically disenfranchised communities.



This is a full-time remote position based near UCS’s Washington, DC office. For those who meet all position requirements, the salary range is $114,671 to $129,000. UCS offers excellent benefits and a rewarding work environment. *CA Resident Only, we offer a 12% salary differential*

Information about the organization is available at

Comparable training and/or experience can be substituted for degrees when appropriate.

More about the team:

This position will supervise two Senior Washington Representatives, with the potential to supervise additional Washington Representatives and occasional interns, volunteers, or consultants.

Our team is made up of a dedicated group of researchers, scientists, communicators, campaigners, and advocates from wide-ranging backgrounds and experiences. We are committed to building a diverse and inclusive team and a collaborative and supportive work environment where all staff can thrive. We continually strive to create an environment which is a welcoming place for the LGBTQ+ community, people of color, parents, empty-nesters, and people with a wide variety of interests and backgrounds.

To Apply: We know there are great candidates who won’t check all these boxes, and we also know you might bring important skills that we haven’t considered. If that’s you, don’t hesitate to apply and tell us about yourself. Please upload a cover letter and resume. In the cover letter, please confirm that the listed salary meets your expectations. Upload materials in Word or PDF format only. No phone calls, please.

This position is not in the bargaining unit.

Covid Mandate for New Hires:

For in office roles, UCS employees must be fully vaccinated against COVID-19. Employees are considered fully vaccinated as defined by the CDC. All new hires who will be reporting to an office location must provide notice of their vaccination status and vaccination documentation, on or before their first day of work. For all others, UCS strongly encourages full vaccinations among its employees, up to and including booster shots, even if working remotely.

All new employees must comply with the mandatory vaccination requirements outlined in UCS policies as soon as practicable. The Union of Concerned Scientists will notify candidates for employment of the requirements of this policy before the start of employment.

Deadline: Until filled.


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