Heather Reams, ’95, champions clean energy on the political right

Heather Reams, president of Citizens for Responsible Energy Solutions, presents Rep. Dan Newhouse (R-Washington) as a Clean Energy Champion during National Clean Energy Week in September 2022.

Heather Reams never forgot the wondrous views of the outdoors from her University of Washington days. As the president of Citizens for Responsible Energy Solutions (CRES), Reams hopes, in part, to protect the country’s beauty by leading this right-of-center nonprofit organization based in Washington, D.C.

“We engage policymakers and the public about responsible, conservative solutions to address our nation’s energy, economic and environmental security while increasing America’s competitive edge,” says Reams, ’95.

The organization, founded in 2016, advocates for clean energy and discusses climate change from a Republican standpoint.

“It (the politics of climate change) tends to be focused generally on the conversations on the left-of-center aisle,” Reams says. “My job and my team, my organization’s job, is to heighten the awareness of how clean energy can help lower emissions that contribute to climate change.”

Seeing an evolution of climate change in Republican circles, Reams says she learned about interacting with the Democratic side from her days as a political science major at the University of Washington, where she felt like she was in the minority as a conservative.

Among her audience today are Republican members of the U.S. House and U.S. Senate. This has her working with everyone from Rep. Cathy McMorris Rogers from Eastern Washington to the Congressional Western Caucus chaired by Rep. Dan Newhouse. Reams’ job is to educate congressional staff members on areas such as global emissions but also to travel out of Washington, D.C., to speak at conferences and pass along the Republican view on clean energy.

It comes together in an annual celebrated event Reams has led since its beginning, National Clean Energy Week, a forum typically held in September that brings together both sides of the aisle in panel discussions.

CRES Forum is the lead convener of the event, which last year had more than 20 members of the House and Senate, Reams says, including members from the Biden administration and the Department of Energy, along with more than 50 business leaders. “I love the fact that we can bring people together that are very passionate about leaving our world better than we found it.”

Part of Reams’ foundation for working with government came from interning for then-U.S. Sen. Slade Gorton, her first experience dealing with politics and policymaking at the federal level. That inspired her to think again about her plan for law school and eventually to move to Washington, D.C.

Reams credits her UW adviser, political science professor John T.S. Keeler, who took the time to understand her conservative point of view and helped her navigate the world. Add her geopolitics education and it’s easy to see why she is such an enthusiastic graduate.

She proudly says: “I draw on my time at U-Dub extensively.”