If you’ve been watching the network news lately, you might have noticed the story about the Republican party eating its own candidates in the special election contest for New York’s 23rd Congressional District. The 23rd district is being given up by Republican John McHugh, who is now serving in the Obama administration. He was one of the 8 Republicans who voted for the Waxman-Markey climate legislation back in June. The contest for this moderate district has been a three-way race between Democrat Bill Owens, Republican Dierdre Scozzafava, and Conservative (tea-party) candidate Dan Hoffman.
In a strange turn of events, Scozzafava, the original favorite, has just dropped out of the race with 4 days to go, being deemed too liberal by the national republican party. Many prominent Republicans such as Sarah Palin and Fred Thompson have been stumping for Dan Hoffman, and raising large amounts of cash for him in the process. This led her to fall from the favorite to a distant 3rd place, while Owens and Hoffman were in a dead heat. Now, it’s a two-way race between Owens and Hoffman, and there’s a good possibility a lot of the votes for Scozzafava are going to shift to Hoffman. Of course, it goes without saying we don’t want a Tea Party congressman to take that seat. But would the Democrat be much better?
Upon doing a little bit of research on the Democrat Bill Owens, I think he’s a fairly green candidate. For starters, the vast majority of his commercials have him talking about investing in green jobs in upstate New York. See the video above for a solid example. The first plank of his “jobs” platform on his website says…
“ Leading the Way on Green Energy:
Upstate New York has already taken strides to promote a green energy economy, and that’s creating good paying jobs for working families across the state. Whether it is solar, wind, biomass or other technologies, our Congressional District is already up and running with a green energy industry. We need to promote more of this kind of investment so we can continue to create better paying jobs for Upstate New York.”
A more thorough investigation through a LCV questionnaire reveals that Owens has a number of favorable positions for the climate movement. He is for emissions cutting climate legislation, engaging the international community on a global climate treaty, says the green economy is one of his top priorities, supports a 25% clean RES, near zero emissions performance standards for new power plants, and supports the current moratorium on new oil and gas drilling. There are of course some unfavorable or cautious statements, such as support for the nuclear industry, a yes and no answer on unconventional fuels, and he sometimes says “as long as it doesn’t cause the loss of jobs”.
If you’re looking for a champion on fighting global warming, Bill Owens isn’t going to be your hero. If you want a champion for a clean energy economy, he’s got a chance. His opponent will do everything he can to obstruct clean energy investment, environmental protection, and climate legislation. My read on Owens is he’ll be proactive in addressing these issues in Congress. He could even be an important House vote on the final product of climate legislation after conference committee. So if you live in New York, or you’re actually in his district, I think it would be worth your time for the next few days to support Owens, whether it be financial, or grassroots activism. Below is a key quote from the questionnaire.
“Global climate change is an issue we must address in Congress. The United States is in position to lead the world and be on the forefront of a “green” economy. In the 23rd Congressional District, there are many wind farms and renewable fuel facilities which not only preserve the environment but create jobs and stimulate the economy.”