Tag Archives: Endorsement

Michael Mann Endorses Rebecca Otto for Governor of Minnesota

State Auditor Rebecca Otto is running for Governor of Minnesota. She will seek the DFL (Democratic Party) Endorsement. There are several other candidates either declared or likely to run, but Otto stands head and shoulders above all the others, especially in three areas:

1) Honesty and integrity in government.

Otto has been recognized nationally by the auditors around the country, and this is for good reason. In fact, she’s recognized internationally. The Minnesota Auditor’s office, under Otto, is one of those places the US State Department sends people from other countries to figure out how they should set up their own Democracy. (I’m not sure if the State Department will still be doing that ….)

2) Eschewing the false balance and finding real common ground between desperate parties.

This is Rebecca Otto’s super power. I’ve seen her do this right before my eyes.

The whole state saw her do it in Minnesota. There is a large mining region here, and mining companies want to start a new phase, extracting copper. Have you heard of the Environmental Movement? The US Environmental Movement has multiple roots, including my own home town Hudson River, with the sloop Clearwater and all that. But it also started in Minnesota, with the mining companies up on “The Range” (a place in Minnesota) where the miners were killing Lake Superior with their effluent. There has always been a fight on The Range between those who want more jobs and those who do not want to kill the Great Lakes and other natural wonders.

A couple of years ago, Rebecca cast a principled vote on a committee the Auditor serves on, the only vote among her fellow Democrats, to put environmental considerations on equal footing with jobs and other issues. She didn’t want to see the big mining companies leave The Range in the same sort of mess, with respect to local costs of cleanup, lost jobs, etc., as they have in the past, and like mining companies tend to do. That move got all the Republicans and some of the Range Democrats mad at Otto, and they have been viciously attacking her ever since, because they want all those Range votes for themselves.

Meanwhile, Rebecca went to The Range, talked to people, helped all the parties find common ground, and on voting day, she outperformed the Democratic Governor, and the Congressional candidate in counties and precincts she should, according to common wisdom, should have lost. Twice.

(See this analysis of the elections.)

3) Rebecca Otto is a true Climate Hawk

And this is why climate scientist Michael Mann endorsed her. Among other things, Mann said:

… Otto is a shining example of the kind of integrity and leadership we hope for in our elected leaders but too rarely see: someone who puts their money where their mouth is. I’m proud to support Rebecca Otto for Governor of Minnesota, and urge everyone who is concerned about climate change and clean energy to join me in supporting her. … As the Minnesota State Auditor, Rebecca issued a nationally award-winning report on how local governments can reduce energy costs dramatically by switching to clean, carbon-free energy sources…

Go HERE to read the entire endorsement.

I asked Professor Mann why a climate scientist working in Pennsylvania would worry about a governor’s race in Minnesota. “In climate change, we face a threat that knows no boundaries—continental boundaries, national boundaries, or state boundaries,” het told me. “We must support politicians everywhere who are willing to act on climate. Rebecca Otto has demonstrated that she places great priority on science-based policymaking on climate change and I am happy to support her candidacy.”

Make sure, when you visit that site, you watch Rebecca’s one minute video. See those solar panels she’s sitting in front of? I helped install them!

Elect These Four Californians: Lois Capps, Heidi Hall, Mike Honda, Ted Lieu

This is an endorsement by Climate Hawks Vote, which I support.

Climate Hawks Vote is delighted to endorse in four California Congressional elections, joining our prior endorsement of Scott Peters (CA-52, San Diego). In order purely alphabetical, they’re Lois Capps, Heidi Hall, Mike Honda, and Ted Lieu.

Lois Capps (CA-24, Santa Barbara) has earned our endorsement by being a tireless advocate for action on climate. She has the second-highest score among all Democrats in the House of Representatives on our scorecard measuring leadership. Her climate resilience ideas, in particular, have been adopted by the White House. We especially appreciate her passion in connecting the dots between climate change and two issues important to her constituents: public health and the Santa Barbara coastline.

Heidi Hall (CA-01, Redding and far northern California) says: “The greatest threat to our national security, public health and long-term economic growth is climate change.” The region is being hit hard by climate change – homes in Weed were recently lost to wildfire while Shasta Dam is shockingly barren. Yet her opponent, a first-term Republican of the tea party variety, denies basic climate science, voted to shut down the government, and flirts with the state of Jefferson. Heidi’s pragmatic approach includes keeping her district in the state of California. Imagine that.

Mike Honda (CA-17, Silicon Valley) has been a stalwart on climate change among other progressive causes. He’s authored a core bill, HR 4461, requiring climate change education – a happy contrast to those red states whose textbooks question science. And he’s tied a tech-savvy Smart Electronics bill to climate change. He’s spoken out for a carbon tax and against Republican efforts to gut the EPA. He’s being challenged by a technology mogul who promises to represent the businesses of Silicon Valley; but Mike represents something far more important, people. His leadership on climate is demonstrated by the fact that he’s among the top 10 members of Congress on our very tough leadership scorecard.

Ted Lieu (CA-33, coastal Los Angeles) is running in the seat held by the retiring Henry Waxman. In backyards and in living rooms throughout the South Bay and Westside of Los Angeles, Ted has promised to make climate change his top issue. He’s voiced opposition to export of coal to Asia. And he’s floated the idea of an AB32 (California’s landmark global warming law) at the national level. The debate Congress should be having – whether California’s exemplar leads the way or whether to embrace a cap-and-dividend or carbon tax – stands in stark contrast to the asinine “debates” being put forth by current House leadership. We expect great things from Ted.

Solve the Climate Crisis – Reelect Scott Peters in California's 52nd

This is an endorsement by Climate Hawks Vote, which I support.

Climate Hawks Vote is delighted to endorse Scott Peters in California’s 52d Congressional District of San Diego for his strong climate leadership and for taking first place in our August 2014 survey. And his approach just may break partisan gridlock in Congress.

Scott Peters has a reputation as a problem solver. Climate hawks tend to fly on the left wing of the Democratic Party, but Peters has demonstrated that climate transcends political partisanship. He’s spoken out onsuper-pollutants, national security, and resiliency, all issues that should not be bogged down in partisan bickering.

Peters eked out a victory in 2012 in a swing district, and he’s facing a very tough reelection fight – DC pundits consider his race one of the few true tossups of 2014. He could have ducked the thorny climate issue. Instead, he stepped up to the plate in a big way once in office, taking on a leadership role in the House Sustainable Energy & Environment Coalition, authoring bills, and speaking out in the national and local press. That took political courage.

His courage is reflected in our scorecard, which measures leadership – not just votes – on climate. In the short time he’s been in Congress, he’s in fifth place among all Democrats in the House of Representatives, above stalwart climate hawks in Oregon, Vermont, and deep blue parts of California; the scorecard is cumulative since 2011.

Peters has also been endorsed by the US Chamber of Commerce – the first time we’ve ever agreed with the Chamber! but that fact gives us hope: perhaps climate can transcend politics. We need to return Scott Peters and his problem solving approach to Congress.

Peters joins our list of fall 2014 endorsees including Shenna Bellows (Maine-Senate), Paul Clements (Michigan-06), and Gary Peters (Michigan-Senate). We’re backing up our endorsement with organization on the ground in this swing district. Our on-the-ground organizers helped Brian Schatz close the deal in the Hawaii Senate primary and helped Ruben Gallego defeat a coal-funded opponent in Arizona’s 7th Congressional District.

Paul Clements and Gary Peters for Congress in Michigan

This is an endorsement by Climate Hawks Vote, which I support.

Climate Hawks Vote announces endorsements of two Michigan Democrats: Paul Clements for Congress in Michigan’s Sixth District, and Gary Peters for Senate, because the Koch brothers and Big Oil need to stop using Michigan’s shores as a dumping ground for their pollution and Michigan’s politicians for their agenda.

Paul Clements is challenging none other than Fred Upton, chair of the House Energy & Commerce Committee – these days, the House Big Oil Lackey Committee. As the face of Big Oil, Upton was named the number one enemy of the earth. It’s into his pockets that Big Oil money goes – he’s among the top recipients of money from the oil, gas, and coal-fired electric utility industry. And when Big Oil spilled into the Kalamazoo River, Upton demanded answers for about a week, then went back to business as usual, pushing bills to gut the EPA.

Voting out Fred Upton piqued our interest… but Climate Hawks Vote won’t get involved in a race between a horrible Republican and a mediocre Democrat (we won’t name names, but our scorecard will). Luckily for the voters of southwestern Michigan, Paul Clements is a true climate champion. “Climate change is the greatest threat to Michigan and to the world in the 21st century,” he says. His new ad – watch it here – touts clean energy solutions.

We wouldn’t be endorsing if we didn’t think Clements has a chance; he’s considered to be Upton’s toughest challenger in years, and anything can happen to entrenched incumbents in a year in which Eric Cantor lost. The district begins as R+1, i.e. a very slight Republican edge that can be beaten by smart Democratic campaigning. Climate Hawks Vote aims to defeat Upton to send a clear message: Big Oil and Michigan waters don’t mix.

We’re also endorsing Gary Peters, running against Terri Lynn Land in an open seat for Senate. Like Clements, Peters is explicitly running on climate change and the effect it’s having on the Great Lakes. Peters fought the Koch Industries-created piles of petcoke in Detroit, and he’s been carrying a bill to boost electric vehicles – a classic made-in-Michigan solution to climate change.

As before, we’re backing up our endorsement with talons, er, boots on the ground for Peters + Clements voters. Our on-the-ground organizers helped Brian Schatz close the deal in the Hawaii Senate primary, and we helped Ruben Gallego defeat a coal-funded opponent in Arizona’s 7th Congressional District. We aim to win in Michigan.

Vote For Jeanne Shaheen, New Hampshire Senate

This is an endorsement by Climate Hawks Vote, which I support.

We’re working our way through scoring Senate Democrats on climate leadership, using the same lodestar that we’ve used on House Democrats: who’s leading on climate by engaging the public? It’s slow going – results might not be final until mid-October or later. However, given the intense interest in certain races, we’re releasing a few scores early. Jeanne Shaheen has earned a high score, and thus our endorsement, for her deep commitment to energy efficiency.

Jeanne Shaheen, New Hampshire Senator, has earned a very high score on our scorecard, and thus our endorsement. She’s carrying one bill, the Energy Savings & Industrial Competitiveness Act, so we knew she had an interest in energy efficiency. What surprised us in scoring her actions was the depth of her commitment to the issue. She’s stumped for energy efficiency up and down her home state. She’s visited manufacturers, Portsmouth Naval Shipyard, Ivy League classes, an island historic hotel, and, it seems just about every business in the state to send a message with broad appeal: the energy that is both the cheapest and the cleanest is the energy that isn’t used in the first place. She’s been speaking out on energy efficiency, frequently and consistently, for years. And in doing so, she’s educated and engaged the public on a critical issue with bipartisan appeal.

If Shaheen were in the House of Representatives, she’d rank among the top half-dozen House Democrats on our tough scorecard. Again, we’re scoring leadership to separate climate hawks from those who might vote the right way but who duck the issue in engaging with the public.

Shaheen is being challenged by a joke of a Republican who’s flip-flopped as much on climate science as his residency. However, Climate Hawks Vote doesn’t endorse mediocre Democrats who’ll put the climate crisis on the back burner just because they’re fighting bad Republicans. Rather, we selectively endorse only those who demonstrate leadership. Here, Jeanne Shaheen understands the moral imperative of the climate crisis. She’s working with a Republican, Rob Portman (R-OH), to pass a solid bill. She’s earned our endorsement, and she deserves another term in the Senate.

Shenna Bellows of Maine for Senate

This is an endorsement by Climate Hawks Vote, which I support.

We’re endorsing climate hawk Shenna Bellows to be the next Senator from Maine because business as usual is no longer good enough in the face of a local and worldwide crisis. Long-time incumbent Susan Collins admits the existence of a problem, to her credit; but far from proposing credible solutions, her actions range from policy homeopathy to delay to active hindrance.

While working on our sophisticated scorecard measuring leadership – not just votes – on climate for Senate Democrats, we are also tracking four Senate Republicans in advance of the 2014 election. We’re measuring Susan Collins’ record of public engagement, bills authored and cosponsored, press releases, website, and internal Senate groups joined, beginning January 2011, using the same yardsticks we’re applying to Democrats. And, to be blunt, her record of leadership is worse than her mediocre voting record.

We weight public engagement far more than any other factor. Leaders need to be interacting with citizens on this immense issue, whether it’s speeches on the Senate floor or town halls with local fishermen or keynoting business conferences. Collins hasn’t done any of that. Instead, she had one moment in the spotlight in September 2011 delivering the GOP’s rebuttal to President Obama’s weekly address, in which she demanded a time-out for EPA regulations.

The bills she’s authored have been, mostly, to track, curb, and delay “major regulations,” DC-speak for EPA rules. She’s cosponsored a pro-Keystone XL bill and bills to “rein in the EPA.”

Her press releases likewise sound a similar theme: the only acceptable response to climate change is to sit down and do nothing for a year. Or two. Or until Congress thinks of a plan to repeal and replace Obamacare, ooops, we mean, EPA regulations.

Collins’ appeal to some national environmental groups is obvious: she accepts the science, unlike most Republicans of the climate zombie era, and bipartisanship sounds nice. But her delay-and-dither approach is flat out wrong. Maine, faced with ocean acidification and warming seas affecting its iconic lobster harvest, deserves better. Support for business-as-usual politicians like Collins, and her many counterparts on the Democratic Party side, is tantamount to acceptance of a business-as-usual carbon emissions trajectory.

We founded Climate Hawks Vote to elevate the voices of those few leaders who see the climate crisis as a priority. Shenna Bellows has earned our endorsement. She will seek limits on carbon emissions. She opposes the Keystone XL pipeline. And – unlike Collins – she’s taken a firm stand on an issue important to Maine voters and the larger climate community: she’s opposed the proposed Portland Montreal Pipeline Reversal, a plan to re-engineer an existing pipeline to carry carbon-intensive tarsands from Canada to Portland, Maine and then to the global marketplace. Maine needs to elect Shenna Bellows to the Senate.

As with prior races, we’re backing up our endorsement with organizing on the ground. Past successes include winning nominations for Brian Schatz, Hawaii-Senate, and Ruben Gallego, Arizona-07.