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Washington, D.C. — On Wednesday night in the nation’s capital, the League of Conservation Voters (LCV) honored three state affiliates: Conservation New Mexico, Conservation Voters for Idaho, and Chispa Arizona for their significant clean energy victories. The annual dinner was a celebration of LCV’s victories in 2018 and 2019, including the successful election of a pro-environment House of Representatives, more champions at the state and local level, and the most productive state legislative sessions in history for clean energy and climate action.
The John Hunting Winning for the Environment Award presented to Conservation Voters New Mexico, Demis Foster, Executive Director; Conservation Voters for Idaho, Courtney Washburn, Executive Director; Chispa Arizona, Laura Dent, Executive Director
This award was created to honor LCV Honorary Board Member John Hunting’s legacy of service and expertise to the Conservation Voter Movement and to recognize the growing power of the state affiliates. This year three states were recognized because of the tremendous collective success of LCV partners in the Clean Energy for All campaign. Conservation Voters New Mexico played a critical role in the 2018 election of Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham and worked with their new governor to make the ambitious Energy Transition Act the law of the land in a state known for being a stronghold of the oil and gas industry. Conservation Voters for Idaho demonstrated the clear political viability of clean energy in a deep red state by first convincing the city of Boise to commit to 100 percent clean energy, supporting successful gubernatorial candidate Brad Little after he publicly committed to taking action on climate change, and ultimately persuading Idaho Power, the state’s largest utility, to commit to 100 percent clean energy. Chispa Arizona demonstrated the power and success an organization can have when grassroots community members are deliberately included in political strategy and elections in the competitive Arizona Corporation Commission election where they helped elect Sandra Kennedy, an independent voice, to the commission.
Jennifer Allen Aroz, Senior Vice President, Community & Civic Engagement, presented the awards and said, “Congratulations to our 2019 Hunting Award winners Conservation Voters New Mexico, Conservation Voters for Idaho and Chispa Arizona — these three transformational victories show that when the Conservation Voters Movement is anchored to communities, leverages our political relationships and is armed with bold vision and concrete agendas, we can confront the greatest challenge — climate change — facing our families, communities and everyone who calls this planet home. These state partners are at the forefront of transforming their states and, as a result, generating profound pressure for bold federal action.”
Demis Foster, Conservation Voters New Mexico Executive Director said, “After helping elect our new governor, we spent hours in the legislative trenches together, leading a coalition that worked to pass the groundbreaking Energy Transition Act. Stakeholders ranging from labor to social justice groups to environmental allies to utilities and rural co-ops came together to create legislation that put communities at the center. And together, we got it and the strongest clean energy standard in the country across the finish line.”
Courtney Washburn, Conservation Voters for Idaho Executive Director said, “I come from what some might consider an ‘unlikely state.’ Idaho is deeply conservative, but that hasn’t stopped us from making clean energy progress — it just means we’ve taken a different approach. Earlier this year, Governor Little took office, proving clean energy to be politically viable in our state, we came together and successfully pressured the state’s largest utility to commit to 100 percent clean energy by 2045 — the most ambitious commitment from an investor-owned utility in the country.”
Laura Dent, Chispa Arizona Executive Director said, “The Chispa Arizona team is bridging the divide to make sure Latinos and all communities of color that are hit first and worst by climate change but underrepresented in the political process are at the table and building a more just and accessible environmental movement. Last year we challenged regulators bought and paid for by our state’s largest monopoly utility and helped elect Sandra Kennedy, a champion for Arizona rate-payer interests, to the critical Corporation Commission.”
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