What were Congressional leaders talking about during Memorial day recess?

Nick Abraham, nabraham@lcv.org, 206-833-7021

Clean energy jobs, environmental justice and the American Jobs Plan

Washington, D.C. — Across the country, members of Congress spent the state work period over Memorial Day week at in-district events where they spoke to constituents about the benefits of clean energy, good paying jobs, and environmental justice in the American Jobs Plan.

See a snapshot of what members said at press conferences, town halls, and LCV state affiliate-hosted events below:

CALIFORNIA

Representatives Katie Porter and Mike Levin joined California League of Conservation Voters for a virtual event to discuss how bold federal climate legislation will invest in clean energy job creation while addressing the climate crisis and environmental injustices.

“For too long, we’ve had economic policies that are geared to help those at the very top at the expense of everyone else,” stated Representative Levin. “When you look at the jobs that will be created by the American Jobs Plan, it is really important that we are creating jobs that have good wages, collective bargaining, health care benefits, leave — all of the things that we take for granted sometimes.”

“Resiliency is not a top down process. Local communities, including Indigenous communities and rural communities, need to have a voice in thinking about the ways that water, air, access to recreation spaces are hurting their health or limiting their ability to live healthy, successful lives,” Representative Porter stated. “The goal is to set aside 40 percent of the money for clean energy and clean infrastructure investment to go to disadvantaged communities.”

watch: Representatives Katie Porter and Mike Levin discuss how clean energy infrastructure investments will address the climate crisis

COLORADO

In the Centennial State, Senator John Hickenlooper and Representative Jason Crow each joined telephone town halls hosted by Conservation Colorado, Environment Colorado, and Green Latinos. Coloradans talked with their lawmakers about the urgency of prioritizing climate change, the economy, and people in the American Jobs Plan. 

Senator Hickenlooper said, “This is a once-in-a-generation opportunity to invest in not only Colorado’s but America’s future and to do it in a way that confronts climate change head on.”

Representative Crow said, “The American Jobs Plan will allow us to build the clean energy grid and the clean energy economy. It will help us transition to renewable energy in the way we need to in the next decade. We need support from both parties.”

MAINE

Congresswoman Chellie Pingree joined Maine Conservation Voters at a virtual townhall to discuss environmental issues facing Congress and the American Jobs Plan. 

Representative Chellie Pingree said, “We’re way behind in moving out of a fossil fuel-based energy system and economy and we don’t have a lot of time to waste… if we don’t make some of these tough decisions now — which will inevitably upset some people and not others — we won’t have a planet to give to our grandchildren.”

MASSACHUSETTS

Representative Ayanna Pressley joined Boston City Councilor Lydia Edwards, the Environmental League of Massachusetts (ELM) President Elizabeth Henry, and GreenRoots activist Naemy Rodriguez in East Boston’s Piers Park to discuss the importance of environmental justice, jobs, and action on climate — all of which, the powerful group of women agreed, need to be at the heart of a transformational infrastructure package.  

“Our destinies are tied. Climate change is an existential threat to our right to breathe clean air, our right to drink clean water, and to live in clean and safe communities,” said Representative Pressley. “Americans deserve far more than relief, and we certainly cannot recover to a pre-COVID, insufficient unjust normal.”

watch: Representative Ayanna Pressley remarks on the climate crisis impacting communities

read: Erin Tiernan at the Boston Herald’s tweets covering the event.

MINNESOTA

Senator Tina Smith joined Evergreen Action and Conservation Minnesota Voter Center for a constituent happy hour to discuss the American Jobs Plan and the need to act now on climate and clean energy. 

Senator Smith said, “The clean energy economy is going to happen. The question is whether we are leading it.”

NEW HAMPSHIRE

Representative Chris Pappas joined LCV’s Climate Action New Hampshire and members of New Hampshire’s offshore wind commission for a roundtable discussion on wind industry development in the state. Infrastructure investments must include investments in clean energy development to put our nation on the path to addressing the climate crisis.

Representative Pappas stated, “While we do need to be talking about our roads and bridges, the conversation can’t stop there. It’s got to involve our port infrastructure … and we need to be thinking about the kind of renewable energy development that people here are hungry for. And we’ve got a solution that is just off our coastline.”

read: New Hampshire Public Radio covering Representative Pappas’ statements on the need to go beyond roads and bridges and focus renewable energy infrastructure

NORTH CAROLINA

At a virtual event hosted by North Carolina LCV and NC Interfaith Power and Light, Representative Deborah Ross highlighted how the American Jobs Plan will create good paying jobs in North Carolina while fighting the climate crisis. Clean energy transportation and offshore wind investments would create jobs in manufacturing, engineering, transportation, and construction, which will help build a stronger economy in North Carolina.

Representative Ross stated, “We in North Carolina know that clean energy not only helps the environment, but creates jobs. We’ve seen what happens when we enacted the Renewable Energy Portfolio Standards — we need that extra push to get to a carbon free place. We’re going to create jobs for engineers and for the people who are going to construct things and that will be good for our economy.”

watch: Representative Deborah Ross highlights how investing in clean energy will build jobs in North Carolina

OREGON

Senator Ron Wyden joined the Oregon League of Conservation Voters for a virtual town hall to discuss the American Jobs Plan and Wyden’s recently introduced Clean Energy for America Act, aimed towards updating the federal tax code to incentivize clean electricity, clean transportation and energy efficiency.

“I thought of my kids every day working on this legislation. If we were allowed to continue the status quo we would have cheated your generation. This bill is dedicated to your generation, to all those kids who just want a fair shot,” stated Senator Wyden. “These fires are not your grandfather’s fires, they are bigger and hotter.”

WISCONSIN

Across the Badger State, members of Congress declared their support for the American Jobs Plan and investing in a clean energy future.  Representative Ron Kind joined Wisconsin Conservation Voters to tour a technical college and discuss clean energy jobs.  And, Representative Gwen Moore joined Wisconsin Conservation Voters at a Milwaukee event focused on clean buses.

Representative Kind said, “We’re hard at work right now trying to put together the American Jobs Plan and the infrastructure package. It’s not just roads and highways but it’s the energy system that we want to create for the 21st century.” 

Representative Moore said, “We’re here to talk about the American Rescue Plan and to talk about the proposed infrastructure plan, and the focus on not just building back the same old way, but building back better and building back green.”

read: Coverage from WUWM  and the Milwaukee Independent on Representative Moore discussing the need for urgent action as communities are suffering and WEAU coverage on Representative Kind’s remarks highlighting the need for investments in water infrastructure in communities

 

Additional Congressional events happening this week:

 

ICYMI, LCV state affiliates partnered with labor groups to write opinion pieces across the nation on how the American Jobs Plan will create clean energy jobs while addressing the climate crisis and environmental injustices.

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