Last night, the people of New Jersey sent a strong message to Capitol Hill by rejecting a candidate who espoused the extreme views of the Koch Brother’s-backed Tea Party, which include people like Ted Cruz and Sarah Palin, and instead voting to send Cory Booker to the United States Senate. In the Senate, Booker will be a leader who helps tackle the climate crisis while working to end the gridlock.
The contrast in this campaign was clear. Senator-elect Booker’s opponent, Steve Lonegan, embraced the extreme Tea Party agenda that shutdown our government and brought our economy to the brink of collapse. In fact, Lonegan was so out of touch with New Jersey voters that he praised House Republicans for having the “guts to hold the line” on their strategy of using a government shutdown to try to defund the President’s health care law. By casting his lot with the Tea Party, Lonegan turned a blind eye to the harmful impacts of the shutdown, which closed our national parks and prevented public servants at the EPA from doing their jobs protecting the air we breathe and the water we drink.
By contrast, Senator-elect Booker outlined a positive agenda, including the kind of common sense policies that made him a true environmental ally as Mayor of Newark. As mayor, Booker created Newark’s first Office of Sustainability, which has worked to make city operations more environmentally-friendly and expand green job opportunities for Newark residents. Booker also helped establish a program to train residents to weatherize the homes of seniors and low-income families, improved affordable, energy-efficient housing across the city, and championed efforts to clean up the Passaic River, part of an Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Superfund site.
That’s the same kind of leadership he’ll bring to the United States Senate. Senator-elect Booker supports comprehensive climate change legislation that would reduce carbon pollution and increase our investment in clean energy. He also supports cutting wasteful taxpayer-funded subsidies to the oil industry, and preserving the EPA’s ability to enforce the Clean Air Act and Clean Water Act.
In fact, Senator-elect Booker said it best when we endorsed him in the race: “As mayor of Newark, I’ve dealt with the consequences of short-sighted environmental decisions by Congress that impacted the health and well-being of my residents…I will work as senator to protect New Jersey’s air and water and fight to make the state the home to more well-paying, clean energy jobs."
Tea Party leaders went in big trying to defeat Cory Booker and advance their extreme, anti-environmental agenda on Capitol Hill. But New Jersey voters rejected their shutdown-style politics and instead sent an environmental ally to the Senate who will work with us to build a clean energy future.
(Photograph taken by Anne White)