WASHINGTON - League of Conservation Voters (LCV) and League of Conservation Voters Education Fund (LCVEF) Boards Chair Bill Roberts today announced the selection of Gene Karpinski as the fifth president of the independent political voice for the environment.
"It is a real coup both for America's environment and the League of Conservation Voters that Gene Karpinski has agreed to join us," Roberts said. "Gene's vast experience, coupled with his energy, enthusiasm and dedication to service is just the right combination of talents at just the right time. His background working with state-level organizations will be key as we continue to strengthen our collaborative efforts with the growing state league movement and intensify our aggressive lobbying on Capitol Hill."
Karpinski has spent the last 21 years as Executive Director of the U.S. Public Interest Research Group (U.S. PIRG) in Washington D.C., the national lobbying office for state-level Public Interest Research Groups across the United States. In that role, he has led many of the environmental community's major national issue campaigns, including passage of the first federal Right To Know law in 1986 and continuing efforts to prevent drilling in the Arctic Refuge. Karpinski has also been a member of LCV's Board of Directors and Political Committee for the more than twelve years. As LCV and LCV Ed Fund's new president, Karpinski will be stepping down from the board.
"Leading the League of Conservation Voters and the League of Conservation Voters Education Fund is a dream job, allowing me to combine my passion for environmental issues with engagement in the electoral arena," Karpinski said. "LCV's track record as the decisive political voice for the environment positions it perfectly as Americans demand clean, efficient energy solutions from both sides of the aisle. Energy independence and global warming issues have taken new prominence in our work to establish pro-environment majorities at all levels of government, and we will make sure they stay front and center."
Karpinski said he also looks forward to redoubling efforts to identify and support more pro-conservation Republicans, as he builds on LCV's accomplishments that include numerous successful independent campaigns at the congressional level. The group has invested millions of dollars in 445 endorsed candidates in the last ten years, 358 of whom have won - a success rate of 80 percent. In the 2004 election cycle, over 18,000 LCV volunteers knocked on 1.3 million doors in five key states.
"I am also eager to build on the Education Fund's experience and accomplishments in the areas of capacity building for the environmental movement and non-partisan voter participation work, including activities in the fields of grassroots activism, youth organizing, communications, and skills and leadership training," Karpinski said.
"Without question, this country is ready for real solutions to real environmental problems, and we are confident that Gene and LCV's and LCV Ed Fund's talented staff are going to be key to those solutions," Roberts said.
Karpinski will assume his duties in early April. He replaces Deb Callahan, who resigned in January after a 10-year tenure.