“The Democrats now have a presidential ticket that reflects the American people better than the GOP ticket and every presidential ticket in US history. It’s not everything. It’s not the crushing of racism + sexism. It’s not the freeing of Black womanhood. But it can be the start.”
— Author, historian, and scholar of race and discriminatory policy Ibram X. Kendi via Twitter.
“Our green spaces are literally places of common ground, and that helps bridge Idaho’s political divide.”
— Conservation Voters for Idaho Executive Director Rialin Flores in a Grist article.
“Black women and women of color have long been underrepresented in elected office and in November we have an opportunity to change that. Let’s get to work.”
— Senator and vice presidential nominee Kamala Harris via Twitter.
Inside Climate: On Climate, Kamala Harris Has a Record and Profile for Action
LCV’s affiliates are hard at work protecting the environment and fighting climate change in the states. Here’s what people are reading across the country:
MAKING HERSTORY: This week
history herstory was made! Democratic nominee Joe Biden selected Kamala Harris as his vice-presidential running mate for the 2020 election. Having made history before as the second Black woman and first Indian American woman to serve in the Senate, Harris is also an environmental champion. Harris continues to fight for environmental justice, racial justice and equity and makes history again as the first Black woman and the first Indian American person to be selected for national office by a major party!
OUR TAKE: LCV Action Fund SVP of Government Affairs Tiernan Sittenfeld said, “Congratulations to Senator Kamala Harris, a true environmental champion! There is so much at stake this November, and we could not be more excited to help elect the Biden-Harris ticket.
Senator Harris has been a long-time champion for climate action and environmental justice, from starting the first environmental crimes unit in the San Francisco District Attorney’s Office to her work prosecuting polluters and defending California’s climate law as Attorney General. She’s continued to build on that leadership with her 91% lifetime score on LCV’s National Environmental Scorecard and recent introduction of the Climate Equity Act and the Environmental Justice for All Act in the Senate, and we know she will continue the fight for a more just solution to the climate crisis. We applaud Joe Biden for choosing a running mate who is also committed to acting on the climate crisis starting on day one and continuing every single day of their administration. Together, Joe Biden and Kamala Harris will fight for the health of communities most impacted by the climate crisis and environmental injustice and work to build a more just and equitable clean energy future for all.”
DOUBLE TAKE: LCV Board Chair Carol M. Browner said, “I am thrilled Kamala Harris, a true champion for climate and environmental justice, is joining Joe Biden on this historic ticket. Senator Harris has helped lead the fight to center racial justice and equity in our national environmental policies and pushed to hold the Trump administration accountable for their harmful rollbacks of environmental protections that most negatively impact low-income families and communities of color. From starting the first-ever environmental justice unit as San Francisco District Attorney to her leadership on critical issues like electrifying our school buses to protect the health of our children, Kamala Harris has shown she will be a vice president for all of us.
The history she is making as the first Black woman and the first person of Indian descent to run on a major political party national ticket will help break down barriers and make our democracy more fair and accessible to all. As our next vice president, she will help advance a just and equitable transition to a 100% clean energy future built on a promise of racial and environmental justice. After the disastrous Trump-Pence administration, it is clear that Joe Biden and Kamala Harris can provide the leadership our country and our environment needs at this critical moment.”
DNC: Next week kicks off the Democratic National Convention, which will be entirely virtual this year as our country continues to face the coronavirus. The convention will last from Monday, August 17th – Thursday, August 20th and feature key leaders and elected officials from both parties as well as lifting up the stories of people from across the country who are united in supporting Joe Biden and Kamala Harris. With climate change being a top issue among Democratic voters, we are hopeful that it will be a top priority at the convention.
METHANE ROLLBACK: This week the Trump administration rolled back standards that reduce methane and other air pollution from the oil and gas sector. The oil and gas industry is the largest source of methane emissions, which are extremely potent contributors to climate change and local air pollution. It is clear that Trump’s priorities are with Big Oil and not with protecting communities.
OUR TAKE: LCV Deputy Legislative Director Madeleine Foote said, “Gutting these important safeguards against dangerous methane pollution threatens our health, perpetuates environmental racism, and exacerbates climate change. In the middle of a raging public health crisis and worsening climate change-fueled extreme weather events, both of which disproportionately harm communities of color, the last thing the Trump administration should be doing is dismantling protections that keep all communities safer. Once again, Trump has made clear that he values polluter profits far more than the health of our families and the future of our planet.”
BREAKING PUBLIC TRUST: An Interior Inspector General report was released this week surrounding David Bernhardt’s appointment to the U.S. Secretary of the Interior. The report found that the public release of documents on Bernhardt before his appointment were blocked by the Trump administration. This was a clear breaking of public trust and attempt at preserving and protecting Trump’s loyalties, rather than doing what’s best for the public. Representative Raúl Grijalva and Oregon Senator Ron Wyden are calling for a full investigation.
A TIME FOR HEROES: Democracy For All Florida Miami-Dade Area Director, Sebastian Caicedo shared with us why he believes voting is important. Growing up in Colombia, Sebastian describes his first encounter with democracy in the United States and why he’s representing more than himself when he votes. The voter disenfranchisement we have seen in the previous Heroes blogs (WI, DC, and AZ) is a catalyst for Sebastian’s support of the Heroes Act. Sebastian believes the Heroes Act will give us the resources to vote in safer, faster ways but also provide funding to ensure that future voters are fully informed on ballot measures and candidates. You can listen to Sebastian answer many questions about his experience here.
THE RIGHT TO VOTE: Last week, Stacey Abrams, Founder of Fair Fight Action, and Eric H. Holder, Jr., the 82nd Attorney General of the United States, joined LCV for ‘Preserving a Voting Environment: The 55th Anniversary of the Voting Rights Act’ — a virtual event that discussed the historical and current importance of safe and secure elections. LCV’s Voting Rights Director Justin Kwasa moderated the conversation and Gayla Tillman, a Civic Engagement Organizer with Georgia Conservation Voters, closed the webinar by linking how voting is linked to environmental injustice. You can read Gayla’s remarks in their entirety here, and if you didn’t get a chance to catch the full webinar last week, you can watch it here!
REBOUND STALLED: Still over half a million (511,075) clean energy workers, or 15% of the sector’s workforce, are out of a job according to a report released Wednesday by Environmental Entrepreneurs and American Council on Renewable Energy. The U.S. clean energy sector added just 3,200 jobs in July, signaling the sector’s surge of workers returning in June was short-lived. At the current pace it would take nearly 15 years for the U.S. clean energy sector to reach pre-COVID-19 employment levels. Only one out of every six clean energy jobs lost since March returned in June and July, and as federal Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) funds are exhausted and states are forced to close businesses again in the face of COVID-19’s resurgence in some states, more layoffs could be imminent without congressional action.
OPPOSE PENDLEY (CO): This week, Conservation Colorado launched a new campaign calling on Senator Cory Gardner to oppose Trump’s nomination of William Perry Pendley — who is anti-public lands and has expressed wildly racist, anti-immigrant and anti-LGBTQ+ sentiments — to lead the Bureau of Land Management. The effort began this weekend with a full-page newspaper ad in the Grand Junction Daily Sentinel. As our country reckons with structural racism, we need officials to prioritize the safety of people of color in all spaces, including our public lands. Pendley is a non-starter.
HONORING THE VOTE IN GEORGIA (GA): This Saturday, in collaboration with artists from across Atlanta, Georgia Conservation Voters Education Fund will unveil Honor the Vote – a tribute to the 55th Anniversary of the Voting Rights Act. The event will be held in front of the city’s 60ft memorial to the Late Congressman John Lewis, one of the Voting Rights Act’s biggest champions. The event is designed to build community and engage viewers in civic action, with artist rendered voting booths recognizing the legacy of civil rights leaders and the importance of expanding safe access to the polls to ensure a healthy democracy for all. All day event at 19 Auburn Ave NE, Atlanta, GA 30303.
FOCUSING ON GREEN (ID): Grist released an article on Rialin Flores, Executive Director of Conservation Voters for Idaho. Flores is breaking all molds by being a Latina woman leading conservation efforts in a Republican state. Flores discusses protecting green spaces and making sure all feel welcome and comfortable enjoying those spaces, building support across the political spectrum for 100% clean energy, and ensuring communities of color have the power to shape policy decisions that impact their health and future.
PENDLEY IS NOT GOOD FOR LANDS (MT): Last week, LCV’s Montana state affiliate Montana Conservation Voters, released a new ad and website – StopPendley.org — calling on Montanans to tell Senator Steve Daines to oppose Trump’s nomination of anti-public lands bigot William Perry Pendley. The ad is backed by a six-figure buy on broadcast and cable TV across the state of Montana.
CVM TAKE: An NPR article on why Western Republicans need to oppose Pendley mentioned that the Montana Conservation Voters ad says, “Tell Steve Daines our public lands are not for sale, stop Pendley.”
MORE PENDLEY OPPOSITION (NM): Senator Heinrich sent a letter from the Democratic caucus to Trump asking to reconsider his nomination of William Perry Pendley to the Director of the Bureau of Land Management (BLM).
August 17 – August 20: Democratic National Convention
September 1: National Poll Worker Recruitment Day
September 15 – October 15: Hispanic Heritage Month
September 16: International Day for the Preservation of the Ozone Layer
October 12: U.S. Indigenous Peoples’ Day
November 3: Election Day