Deborah O. Raphael

In May of 2014, Mayor Ed Lee appointed Debbie Raphael as the Director

of the San Francisco Department of the Environment, a city agency that

creates visionary policies and programs to ensure a sustainable future

for San Francisco. Raphael returns to San Francisco after three years

leading the California Department of Toxic Substances Control, where

she worked to balance stakeholder interests in protecting the public and

environment from toxic harm.

Raphael believes that cities like San Francisco are incubators for bold

action that results in meaningful change. Her approach to

environmental decision-making focuses on using the best available

science and robust stakeholder interaction to ensure that all voices are

honored. This perspective has allowed her to succeed in addressing

some of the most challenging environmental problems, including the

rollout of California’s landmark Green Chemistry Initiative.

In 20 years of public service at city, county, and state levels, Raphael has

crafted and implemented groundbreaking policies around toxics

reduction, green building, business engagement, integrated pest

management, and environmentally preferable purchasing. She

graduated with honors in biology from the University of California,

Berkeley, was a Smithsonian and National Science Foundation fellow,

and has a Master’s degree in Physiological Plant Ecology from UCLA.