Wolf's energy advisor moves to the Public Utility Commission
Governor Wolf’s energy advisor has a new job. David Sweet, appointed by Wolf to help foster energy related manufacturing in the state will be the newest member of the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission. It’s unclear whether Wolf plans to replace Sweet with a new energy advisor.
Sweet did not have a high public profile in Wolf’s administration. He served on the governor’s pipeline task force and says he had a variety of assignments based on the priorities of the Governor and his chief of staff John Hanger, who has since resigned.
“I got involved when there were interdepartmental issues,” said Sweet. “Often, in that realm, they’d be transportation issues, land use, and economic incentives.” Sweet says he was heavily involved in projects at the Port of Philadelphia. He wouldn’t give details but says there “will be a number of announcements over the next few months.”
Philadelphia business leaders have been pushing to establish the city as an “energy hub,” a place where Marcellus Shale gas could be used in building a manufacturing base and reviving port traffic.
Sweet says he was also involved in helping Drexel University and Philadelphia University, through a partnership with MIT, win a multi-billion dollar grant from the Department of Defense for advanced research in textiles.
When he was appointed by Wolf last year, Sweet told StateImpact that the governor did not choose him for his energy expertise, but rather, his political savvy.
“I’m not touting myself as an expert on energy issues,” said Sweet at the time. “What my role is, I believe, in those two areas is really figuring out ways to mobilize what government resources are there, work with [multiple] state departments…and develop consensus. I’m bringing more of the government and political experience to try to get things done.”
Sweet, a native of Pittsburgh and an attorney, served Washington County as a Democratic state lawmaker from 1977 – 1988. In 1988 he ran for state treasurer, but lost to Katherine Baker Knoll. He served as a campaign manager for Ed Rendell in 2002. And he also advised Democrat Dan Onorato in his failed gubernatorial race in 2010. He left private practice in 2015 to serve in the Wolf Administration, where he was also liaison to the Philadelphia Regional Port Authority and the governor’s designee on the Banking and Securities Commission.
“I am pleased to nominate David Sweet to serve as commissioner on the Public Utility Commission,” said Governor Wolf in a statement. “David’s expertise in finance law, his knowledge of state government and economic development, and his depth of work on energy issues makes him an important fit for the PUC. It is imperative for our economy to harness Pennsylvania’s abundance of energy resources and to ensure we have the infrastructure in place to further develop the natural gas and other energy industries. Additionally, David’s government experience will be an asset to the PUC, especially in helping consumers.”
According to his biography Sweet has helped hammer out financial deals totaling more than $3 billion. He has also served in this role for the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and the Pennsylvania Economic Development Financing Authority, the Commonwealth Finance Authority and the County Commissioners Association of Pennsylvania.