This article reviews California Congressional candidates from districts 1-9 in the midterm election. If you’re looking for a different district, head back to our main page for California here.
Audrey Denney (D) – Rank: Good
Audrey has quite a few good things to note, but her website does not discuss any push for renewable energy. Instead, her platform consists mostly of forest management, water infrastructure, and agriculture practices.
With the forests, Audrey is mainly concerned about preventing devastating wildfires and recognizes that, with climate change, there is the likelihood of increased fires. To be proactive about these issues, she wants to invest in scientific research to manage the forests and educate the public on preventative means. This includes sustainable logging practices and ensuring forests are at a responsible density, with a variety of species and ages, and also management that clears dead and fallen trees.
Next up, Audrey’s concern for the state’s water infrastructure is pretty high up on the list. Most importantly, she’s hoping to prevent the effects of drought on the public. The key here is to incentivize water conservation techniques in residential homes, businesses, and agriculture. She also wants to secure federal funding to restore issues with the water infrastructure, including means to recharge the groundwater.
Lastly, Audrey wants to extend conservation into the agricultural field. Mostly, she wants to implement these techniques through the Natural Resources Conservation Service, and ensure more funding for this department. She also supports grazing and soil-based carbon credits to draw down carbon in the atmosphere.
Doug LaMalfa (R) – Incumbent – Rank: Weak
Doug has an all-of-the-above energy approach, supporting both fossil fuels and renewable sources.
Jared Huffman (D) – Incumbent – Rank: Weak
Jared does show support for the Land and Water Conservation Fund and has called for Congress to value this important program over big oil companies and ensure that it remains well-funded and strong enough to continue its role in protecting our environment.
Our primary pick: Dale Mensing (R) – Rank: Weak
Dale has some dedication to keeping the environment clean. He supports keeping our environment and wilderness cared for and protected. He proposes to increase employment rates by allowing unemployed citizens to clear underbrush that can cause forest fires and to reverse riparian damage through the California Conservation Corps.
Our primary pick: John Garamendi – Rank: Strong
- Incumbent since 2009
- Former Senate Majority Leader, California State Senate
- Lieutenant Governor, State of California, 2006-2009
- Senator, California State Senate, 1976-1991
- Member, Safe Climate Caucus, present
- Member, Sustainable Energy and Environment Coalition, present
Garamendi is your incumbent, and his main focus is water. He’s all about long-term water conservation, preservation, storage, and quality. He’s into building infrastructure that will prepare your community for drought, flooding, and everything in between. Here’s what he’s got so far:
The Feinstein-Garamendi Drought Legislation
Garamendi wants to introduce legislation that is similar to Senator’s Feinstein’s Senate bill which addresses the California drought. Basically, this legislation will give $1.3 billion to long and short-term solutions to drought. He’s even trying to do it in a bipartisan fashion, but without violating environmental regulations that are already in place.
A Water Plan for All California
The plan that Garamendi has put together for California’s water crisis requires a lot of water recycling, new water infrastructure to preserve water in times of plenty for times of drought, and water storage. It also includes habitat preservation and to use new science and technology to preserve water cleanliness and availability without taking water from other areas of California. Why he thinks his plan is better than some alternatives: read more here.
Charlie Schaupp (R) – Rank: Weak
Schaupp wants to bring attention to fixing floods and wildfires, but his website does not outline a plan to do so.
- National Security Strategist & Ex-USAID Official
Morse has quite a few opinions on sustainability. She wants to invest in a clean energy future, and that’s why we want to endorse Morse. She knows that solar and wind energy are quickly outstripping coal in job production and economic boost. Morse understands that sustainable energy initiatives have the capacity to overtake and replace the energy production of fossil fuels if the correct resources are directed to the right outlets. She suggests tax credits for solar and wind energy developments, removing tariffs from solar panels, and adopting a renewable energy standard.
For her district specifically, she also suggests incentivizing woody biomass generation, so that more jobs and energy can be produced in the fourth district due to the increased bark beetle population and climate change which are affecting trees everywhere.
Her other major energy platform is reducing carbon emissions. Since our atmosphere has reached 400 part per million of C02, it’s super important that we begin to really regulate carbon emissions. She suggests removing the subsidies on fossil fuels and put a price on carbon. Morse is dedicated to working with both parties on securing a means to move past the use of fossil fuels.
Morse also has some good thoughts on preserving our national parks and wild places. She condemns cutting the budget for the National Park Service and proposes that using government mineral royalties should fund the preservation of our wilderness and lands. This means that the price increases that have occurred to enter famous national parks wouldn’t go up anymore. Since national parks bring revenue and tourists, it’s important to maintain a steady balance of affordable and efficient. She also supports Congress taking back its sole authority under the Antiquities Act to protect our national (green) treasures.
Here’s our favorite quote from Morse:
“From warming temperatures that increased bark beetle populations, to a rising snow line that impacts seasonal jobs and leads to water scarcity, the changing climate is affecting people in our district in very personal ways. And budget cuts to our National Parks and Forest Service are putting our treasured public lands at further risk, while doing serious harm to the small businesses that surround them. It’s time the most beautiful congressional district in America had a Representative willing to defend it.”
He has some thoughts on prevention of forest fires and is on the natural resources committee, but overall does not have a strong platform on sustainable energy.
- Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Caucus
Mike Thompson has some good thoughts on what sustainable energy could mean for America’s future. He wants to work towards energy independence, continue leading his district in sustainable energy advancements, improve the environment and combat climate change. He wants to see an American future that’s based in all of the jobs and economic opportunity that’s afforded by clean energy initiatives.
Another cool take he has on fossil fuels is in some basic oil stats. America spends more than $25 billion on foreign oil every year. Imagine if we moved away from foreign energy imports, and instead focused that revenue on sustainable energy? Mike Thompson would like to. Not only will it help protect the environment, but it would lead America to a safer place economically and as an international power.
Thompson is a member of the Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Caucus, and the co-chair of the Ways and Means Energy Tax Reform Working Group. This means that he works to make policies that focus on energy sources like solar, geothermal, and wind power more common in our legislation and laws. He’s currently working on a green tax code, which would increase green energy production and energy efficiency. He has really pushed green tax incentives and has continuously tried to make these green energy investments solidified into our tax code.
Here’s what he did during the 112th Congress that we really liked:
“Introduced the Advanced Energy Manufacturing Jobs Act (H.R. 6182) to help spur development in America’s solar industry as well as other renewable energy sources. This legislation provides domestic manufacturers with additional incentives to invest in manufacturing of advanced energy products here at home – dramatically increasing our production to better compete on a global scale. Increased investment in solar energy and other renewables will be especially important in the coming years.” The 112th Congress was from 2011 to 2013, but the fact that he can introduce and push this type of legislation is good news for the planet.
In the past two Congresses, he co-authored the bipartisan Public Lands Renewable Energy Development Act and the Master Limited Partnership Parity Act. The first act looks at California’s public lands and how to responsibly use them for renewable energy development; and the second act allows sustainable energy producers to be able to take the same advantages in their business models that oil, natural gas, coal, and pipeline producers and manufacturers all receive.
Anthony Mills (Independent) – Rank: Mixed
While Mills does acknowledge climate change, he spends a lot of time talking about all the good our country has down to decrease pollution and focuses on how asphalt roads in Middle Eastern cities and volcanic eruptions are causing many of the problems. Instead, we would like to see some plans in place for our country to take a lead in the global fight against climate change.
Our primary pick: Doris Matsui – Rank: Strong
- Incumbent since 2005
- Former Member, Clinton Transition Team
- Former Government Relations Adviser, Law Firm
- Named Co-Chair of the Sustainable Energy & Environment Coalition for the 115th Congress
- Named as a Conferee to negotiate energy reform legislation in 2016
Congresswoman Matsui’s Clean Energy Technology Manufacturing and Export Assistant Act was included in House Democrats’ Make It In America Plan to promote manufacturing and innovation in America in the 114th Congress.
Helped secure over $300 million in American Recovery & Reinvestment Act funds for energy efficiency programs, research and development, and job training. Including $127.5 for SMUD’s Smart Grid deployment.
Doris has a pretty great resume when it comes to sustainable energy. She’s a member of the House Energy and Commerce Committee and Co-Chair of the House Sustainable Energy and Environment Coalition. She secured a huge grant for Sacramento that modernized the electric grid, and she advocates the California Rural Home Mortgage Finance Authority Homebuyers Fund, which helps retrofit loans so that rural citizens can use clean energy in their homes too. That’s really neat, since spreading sustainable energy practices to more rural areas has been a difficult process.
Since Doris has come to office, the green energy sector in Sacramento grew from 30 to over 200! That’s an amazing statistic. Sacramento consistently ranks well when it comes to clean energy and energy efficiency.
Doris has introduced the Clean Energy Technology Manufacturing bill and the Export Assistance Act. Both of this bills focus on boosting America’s toehold in the international green energy sector.
Here’s our favorite quote for Doris:
“Congresswoman Matsui believes it is vital that our local clean energy manufacturing firms continue to have the tools and resources they need to be competitive in the global clean energy economy, and create new, good paying jobs in the Sacramento region.”
Jrmar Jefferson (D) – Rank: Unknown
We could not find information regarding Jrmar’s sustainability platform.
- Incumbent since 2013
- Clinical Professor, University of California Davis School of Medicine, 2005-present
Bera wants to use climate change as the push we need to get off of fossil fuels. He wants a blooming green energy sector and has voted on several different tax bills that promote sustainable energy practices, like solar and wind energy (she helped pass a tax bill in 2015 that gave incentives to green energy producers). He’s a big supporter of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and wants to make sure that they are funded so that we have the science to save our planet from climate change. Bera is also part of the Science and Technology Committee and is currently supporting a law called the America Competes Act, which supplements green energy development and technology.
He’s also all about getting your tax dollars put to sustainable use. He’s been contacting the Appropriations Committee in Congress (that’s who dictates how tax dollars are spent) and pushing for more allocations towards green technology development. Bera has also proposed an amendment to an energy bill that requires non-partisan government investigators to determine if the bill increases pollution.
He’s a big supporter of the Clean Water Act’s State Revolving Loan Fund, which helps fund public work projects, and in the case of her district, ensures that the water treated at the waste facility is held to a high standard for public drinking safety.
Bera wants to make the Land and Water Conservation Fund permanent. This is a big deal for the environment, as it protects threatened animal and plant species, forests, habitats, wildlife refuges, and urban areas. Bera claims this will get rid of a lot of needless political activity in Congress that pertains to sustainability and green technology, allowing America to move forward in other areas. Besides. It should be permanent.
Andrew Grant (R) – Rank: Weak
Andrew recognizes climate change as an issue to tackle, namely by pushing for energy-efficient and eco-friendly automobiles. However, he opposes policies that “overburden energy users,” which is a way to say he may not be very supportive of renewable energy legislation.
Cook provides no information about his sustainable stances on his House site or his campaign site. However, his League of Conservation Voters score for life is 3% (source).
Tim Donnelly (R) – Rank: Weak
Donnelly provides no information about sustainable stances on his campaign site. He does, however, state that he supports transferring federal lands in your district to the state. This could potentially be a bad thing because it means the land will no longer be protected from drilling (as most federal lands are). On his site, he states the transferral of lands is good because “the land could potentially be used for productive purposes” but does not state what these are.
- Incumbent since 2007
- Member, Energy and Commerce Committee
District 9, your incumbent is actually pretty neat! He has a lot of years of experience as a renewable energy expert and was also a small businessman who worked in developing new, green technology. He’s experienced the jobs and effects that sustainable energy has on the economy, and continues to use that knowledge in Congress. He’s been working with his constituents and is dedicated to bringing in clean energy jobs to the district.
McNerney focuses his changes in energy policy on gas prices. He would like to address the constantly changing gas and oil prices, and how they affect his constituents, by moving away from fossil fuel consumption, and incentivizing new forms of sustainable energy. He wants to produce more energy domestically, increase energy efficiency, and research and implement new clean energy resources.
So far, he’s authored 3 bills that have been passed by the House of Representatives. One is aimed at training people for new jobs in sustainable energy, and the other two are aimed at increasing electric efficiency in the grid and in vehicles. He also supports bringing electric car manufacturing into the district to create jobs and bolster the economy.
Here’s our fav quote from him:
“The fight against global warming is closely linked to the fight for cleaner air, which unfortunately is a particular problem in the Central Valley. Too many children in San Joaquin County are exposed to pollutants in the air leading to respiratory problems, including high rates of asthma.” The coolest thing about this quote is that he wrote some legislation that will make the district eligible to apply for grants to help residents replace or refit polluting engines.
Marla Livingood (R) – Rank: Unknown
Marla’s website does not provide any sustainable stances.
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