I’ve spent most of my life fighting to protect our environment because I know that it is the greatest challenge we face today. And I know that it is going to take a movement to stop global warming and address climate change. That’s why I started Step It Up and 350.org—because change at the scale we are talking about is going to require building a broader, more diverse movement of people who create the political space that demands Congress take action on policy change.
That’s why I am so proud to support Pramila Jayapal in her campaign for the U.S. Congress. Pramila and I met more than 15 years ago at the Bioneers Conference. Even then, she was working to help broaden the movement and bring new voices in. She and I both believe in nonviolent action and civil disobedience, and in 2003 she was one of a group of women who led a hunger strike outside Dow Chemical’s offices in Seadrift, Texas to protest the dumping of chemicals into the bay. Years later, she trained environmental organizers from six states across the West on how to engage and broaden the environmental movement to speak to diverse communities.
As the founder and leader of the largest immigrant advocacy organization in Washington, Pramila brought new voices into the climate justice conversation and helped build the bridges between labor, community and environmentalists that is now producing some of the most innovative partnerships in the country. She has the deep relationships in multiple different communities both in Washington state and nationally to help navigate the complexities of a transition to a clean energy economy that protects our environment and protects jobs.
Make no mistake—this race for who represents the 7th Congressional District in the U.S. House of Representatives is absolutely critical. The Puget Sound is one of the most beautiful natural areas in our country—and at the forefront of what is possible in renewable energy technologies, with access to hydro and wind and innovative research and development. It is also leading the country on the kind of activism it takes to make bold policy change happen—from increasing the minimum wage to transitioning away from coal.
Pramila is the single standout candidate in this race and my clear choice: a bold visionary who is unafraid to tackle our most complex problems—like climate change. She has a track record of working on issues long before they were popular and building the movement that created space for policy change to happen.
In the State Senate, she helped lead the fight to strip the worst environmental provisions from a transportation package so that we did not have to choose between clean air and transit. She has consistently opposed unfair trade agreements like the TPP because she knows that, as constructed, they undermine environmental and worker protections. As a member of the transportation committee, she also helped secure investments in the electric vehicle infrastructure.
In Congress, she will lead the fight to ensure that we end the fossil fuel subsidies, put a price on carbon, accelerate the transition to a renewable energy and green economy future and completely revolutionize our transportation and electric infrastructure. As a mom, Pramila knows that protecting our environment for our future generations is a moral responsibility.
Pramila and I both believe that by 2050, America can get to a 100% renewable energy goal—but we both know that is going to take leaders in Congress who can organize on the inside and on the outside. Pramila has led fights for immigration reform, civil liberties, racial justice—producing results every step of the way that made our world a better place. Long before she ran for office, Pramila’s work for justice has inspired tens of thousands of people to get engaged in our democracy, to have a different vision of the future and to work collectively for change.
Pramila is the bold, progressive leader we need in Congress who will get real results and take our democracy back from the fossil fuel industry.