Respected child welfare expert, Thomas will serve a 3-year term.
By Deepak Chitnis
WASHINGTON, DC: Maryland governor Martin O’Malley (D-MD) has appointed Benoy Thomas to the state’s Commission on Environmental Justice and Sustainable Communities (CEJSC). The commissioner position, which will be a three year-long term, is responsible for overseeing the entire workload of the CEJSC, which analyzes, reviews, and develops criteria for determining the particular impacts current state laws, regulations, and policies have on the equitable treatment and protection of communities threatened by development or environmental pollution.
The CEJSC also recommends options for addressing environmental justice issues to the Governor and the state’s General Assembly by determining the adequacy of current statutes and finding areas in the state that require immediate attention in regards to environmental justice. The CEJSC works closely with the Children’s Environmental Health Protection Advisory Council (CEHPAC) on such issues.
“Thank you for making this strong commitment to serve the best interests of our citizens,” said Governor O’Malley — whose name has come up in conversations about potential names for the Democratic presidential and vice-presidential tickets in 2016 — in his offer letter to Thomas, which was shared with The American Bazaar. “With your assistance and support, I know we will succeed in our goal to make a positive difference for all Marylanders.”
But what is “environmental justice?” It’s a term that can be used to define two distinct things: one is the effort to ensure that environmental goods and resources are fairly distributed throughout a certain country or region, and the other involves actual environmental law, policy, and development and sustainability.
Thomas has previously served as a Working Committee member of the Governor’s Council for New Americans. He was appointed by Montgomery County Executive Ike Leggett to two three-year terms on the East Montgomery County Citizen’s Advisory Board. He was also formerly president of the National Council of Asian Indian Associations, which is based in the Washington, DC-metro area.
Thomas is a respected child welfare expert. Earlier this year, he decided to leave his government job in order to work in the private sector, where he currently serves as the Regional Director of KidsPeace, a national leader in child welfare. He has been consulted by the embassies of various South Asian countries when their citizens fall into trouble with child abuse and neglect.
“I’m incredibly grateful and humbled by the confidence entrusted in me by [Governor O’Malley],” said Thomas to The American Bazaar regarding his appointment. “[This is] especially so because he has not appointed me to this position just because I am Indian. I am truly honored.”
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