Vote Energy Smart, not Energy Dumb!

One of the greatest joys in the 2006 election, amid the triumph of capturing both the House and Senate, came with now Congressman Jerry McNerney‘s defeat of Richard Pombo in CA-11. Pombo was in real competition to be the worst member of Congress when it came to energy and environmental issues.  On the other hand, McNerney knows energy, clean energy

During his career in wind energy, McNerney’s work contributed to saving the equivalent of approximately 30 million barrels of oil, or 8.3 million tons of carbon dioxide – the main greenhouse gas – as well as other harmful pollutants.

In 2008, across the country, we have the opportunity for similarly stark shifts from Energy Dumb to Energy Smart elected officials.  

This diary is an appeal for help in identifying Energy Smart vs Energy Dumb opportunities across the country, for developing a strategy for bringing attention to these campaigns and these issues, and helping change the balance in Congress when it comes to energy-related legislative activity.

WE can make a difference

The WE can solve campaign has opened, with $300 million dedicated to highlighting Global Warming concerns and the importance of Federal action to help guide America toward a sustainable and prosperous future. WE, however, is a non-partisan effort. It will raise the issues, highlight the concerns of Global Warming, but not be explicit about what that translates to for political contributions, volunteering for political efforts, and who to pull the lever for in the ballot box.

There will be attention brought, from many angles, to energy and environmental (principally Global Warming) issues in the coming months and, WE can hope, within the campaigns.  We can help bring focus to this discussion, to the electoral implications of the challenges and opportunities we face as individuals, communities, and nation.  

The opportunity is before us to bring focus to this issue across campaigns, across the United States, and make Energy/Global Warming a winning issue come November and a higher priority for serious Congressional and Administration action come January 2009.  Not Fear but Courage… Rather than fearing action in facing of our challenges, our effort can help spread the Courage and determination for action.  

Questioning … Does an effort to bring attention to such candidates, such opportunities make sense?  How should we work to do this?

ActBlue as a first step?

At this time, the Energy Smart vs Energy Dumb Act Blue page has this as a core philosophy.  

All of the candidates on this list will help foster a Congress and political climate conducive for more meaningful action toward a Prosperous, Climate Friendly America through dealing with the challenges of Peak Oil and Global Warming.

With that as a context and concern, what rough guidelines are driving selection for the list?

  • A challenger to an incumbent.
  • The challenger understands energy / environmental issues and will bring a radically different perspective to the Hill compared to the incumbent.
  • The race looks competitive, open for the potential for support and attention moving it toward the win column. (Especially campaigns that are not currently on top-list opportunity lists at this time.)

Do these make sense?  Should they be changed? How?

Initial Candidates include

The initial candidates all seem to fit these guidelines.  (Note that there is at least one primary where good candidates are competing against each other, thus, neither is on the list, but post primary.)  Of course, there are other valid and valuable candidates to add to this list, the comment section is open. The six campaigns merit the Energy Smart vs Energy Dumb appellation. Some of these will be quite familiar with you, others … well, read on.

Kay Barnes
MO-6 running against Sam Graves who has consistently voted Energy DUMB, hand-in-hand with Dick Cheney.  Let us, well, simply rely on the League of Conservation Voters here:

“During her eight years as mayor of Kansas City, Kay Barnes supported renewable energy projects that created jobs in Northwest Missouri, such as the Ford hybrid plant and wind farms. As a member of the U.S. House, she promises to do even more to create good-paying, ‘green-collar’ jobs by working to steer the nation toward the clean, renewable energy of the future rather than following the dirty energy policies of the past,” said LCV President Gene Karpinski. “We are happy to endorse her candidacy.”

It goes on to outline

Yesterday, Graves voted against a bill (H.R. 5351) to roll back billions of dollars in tax breaks to big oil companies, and to reinvest that money into tax credits for wind, biomass and other clean, renewable energy sources. That investment will not only help reduce the carbon emissions that create global warming, it will create thousands of American jobs. The three year extension on wind energy tax credits alone will create a stable market for wind power that will allow companies across the country to expand their operations in places like rural Missouri.

Debbie Cook, CA-46, who has focused on sustainability issues as Mayor of Huntington Beach, California, and serves on the board of directors for the Association for the Study of Peak Oil and Gas (ASPO-USA) and Post Carbon Institute  (great bio).  From her issues page:

It is imperative to address the energy constraints in our future. Our insatiable appetite for fossil fuels is reaching a critical point in human history.

Faced with price volatility, the likelihood of supply disruptions and the physical limits of the world’s oil extraction industry, our government needs to think creatively about how we will provide services in an energy-constrained world.

We cannot predict the changes in our economies and ecosystems or even the likely responses to the peaking of world oil production, but we can begin the dialogue, raising public awareness, tackling public and private consumption, and making decisions about transportation and land use within the context of their energy implications. Just as we plan for medical emergencies, civil unrest and natural disasters, we must also plan for energy uncertainties.

By the way, Debbie’s opponent is Dana Rohrbacher who is Energy Dumb. The contrast is stark.

Scott Kleeb, Nebraska, Senate.   From his Energy & Environment issues page speaking to his state:

As a person who has earned a paycheck working in the outdoors, I am a natural conservationist.  As a hunter who worries about the shrinking migratory duck population, I am concerned about global warming.   Whether from farmers, ranchers or hunters, our government could take a few lessons from our way of life and once again show respect for our traditions and heritage.

He then discusses paths toward a “new energy economy” with creating new jobs while cutting costs, all combining to “make our country safer by cutting our dependence on foreign oil and decreasing pollution.”  Kleeb presents real Energy Smart approaches to our real challenges.  again, let’s just go with Energy Smart here …Glenn Nye, VA-02, arues for investment in clean energy while the Energy Dumb incumbent votes against Renewable Energy programs and for continued (abusive) tax breaks for those impoverished oil companies.

Tom Perriello, VA-05.  Where to start with Tom as he is, quite simply, quite impressive and would (across many issues) make a tremendous addition to Congress.  Want to talk about his role in the formation of Avaaz Faithful America or his work to help foster peace and reconciliation in Sierre Leone, Lieberia, Darfur, and Afghanistan or …  He is a good man who has already achieved much to be proud of and much for us to respect.  For this list, let’s turn to Climate Change

We need to commit to independence from fossil fuels within a generation, and that will require major investments, a substantial shift in incentives, and a culture change as consumers. A revenue-neutral tax shift is one way to do this, but so are cap-and-trade systems that have worked to address problems such as acid rain.  

As for the target, I most often hear from experts that we must draw the line at no more than a 2-degree Celsius temperature increase. Our goal must be set not by what seems politically possible but what will actually produce the end result we need.  

By helping get Tom into Congress we will make the necessary the politically possible.

Andrew Rice, Senate, Oklahoma. For this race, the following words should suffice:  the incumbent is James Inhofe (R-Exxon).  Enough said?

Energy Smart vs Energy Dumb

Okay, this discussion outlines a unifying philosophy, a unifying approach to try to bring attention to energy and environmental issues as election winning issues. And, to do so through the highlighting of campaigns where the contrasts are stark between Energy Smart and Energy Dumb.  Please consider supporting these Energy Smart candidates.

And, engage below:

  • Is this a smart approach?
  • Are the criteria reasonable? How might / should they be changed?
  • Who are the missing candidates and why?
  • How should this effort move forward (if at all)?

7 responses to “Vote Energy Smart, not Energy Dumb!

  1. Right on. Even though I’ve already contributed to several of these candidates, you’ve snared me with this great concept, and I’d like to see it take off. There is no bigger issue out there that has such an impact on all facets of modern life – and on our future. This is a smart way to drive the policy through the right leaders. Heading to ActBlue to make a small donation right now…

  2. Glenn Nye is a terrific candidate…I hope you will support him.

    However, his section is hard to read on here…you should break him out the way the others are!

  3. How do we get a candidate as part of this list? County Commissoner Bill McCamley is running in NM’s 2nd Congressional District. He has a strong commitment to these issues. In addition, we are running against a gentleman who makes all of his money off of oil and gas.

  4. Bob Lord, who is running against Big Oil Shill Rep. John Shadegg in AZ’s 3rd, is a great candidate for new energy, especially solar energy. Shadegg is at the bottom of the barrel when it comes to alternative energy.

    This is the McNerny v. Pombo race of 2008.

    Bob’s website is and he has been hitting Shadegg on his oil ties for months:

    March 18th – Lord: Solar Tax Credits Crucial For Arizona Future, Energy Independence

    December 7th – Congressman Shadegg Again Votes With Big Oil, Against Energy Reforms

    July 18th – Shadegg Votes against Consumer Protections from Gasoline Price Gougers while Taking Money from Big Oil and Gas

    All at:

    I’ve met Bob and can tell you he is the real deal. He drives a Prius and has solar panels on his house!

    Let’s add him to the Energy Smart list ASAP!

  5. Another vote for Bob Lord as an energy smart candidate! Arizona, a state with no significant portion of its economy tied to oil, has representatives that consistently vote against renewable initiatives when we should be the OPEC of Solar. Bob gets it and will get something done about it.

  6. The Pitch newspaper out of KC just did a story on Kay Barnes. Check it out at The Pitch

  7. Pingback: Compare and contrast « Later On

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