Hey Massachusetts! Let’s get right to it since your primary is coming up super quick on September 4. To learn more about Sustainable Politician Project, read our full intro here.
Voting in Massachusetts
You have a semi-open primary, which means that if you ARE affiliated with a party, you have to vote with for that party. If you are NOT affiliated with a party, you can vote in either primary. Our endorsement goes to the candidate we think is best out of either party when it comes to all matters green. Let’s get to it!
If you haven’t heard Elizabeth Warren’s name in the news recently, we’re here to tell you that she has some pretty awesome views on climate change and renewable energy. There’s a lot of information out there as far as her plan for cleaning and protecting the environment, and also moving into an economy that is dependent on renewable energy instead of fossil fuels. Here’s a quick run-down of what we like the most about her current policies and platform:
1. Stop tax subsidies for oil and coal industries. Warren supports the policy that by ending the subsidies, the industries will even out the economy and give sustainable energy the break it needs to begin to dominate the energy economy. Ending corporate profit from government cuts and reallocating it to sustainable energy research is a huge step in the direction we want to see the government go.
2. Keeping public lands available to the public. This means protecting national parks and landmarks, which are currently at risk. Warren wants to permanently fund the Land and Water Conservation Fund, the Endangered Species Act and reforming the EPA. Protecting the environment isn’t just all for pleasure either, as our national parks bring major tourism profits to a lot of areas.
3. Point three ties in with point two, and that’s Warren’s policy on how to handle the issues that are coming from the ocean. She opposes offshore drilling, which is super important if you’re relying on the health of the ocean and the fish for a living, like many people in Massachusetts do. She also wants to keep public lands from being subjected to drilling and the pollution that follows fossil fuel extraction. Investing in renewable energy will bring about a healthier ocean and a better economy.
4. Return the EPA back into an organization that works FOR the people and the environment. The EPA has been notoriously bad at doing its job for a long while, and Warren wants to see the EPA researching and monitoring pollutants and chemicals that are going into our air, water, and dirt. She wants the environmental watchdog to be less of a lapdog and more of the bulldog it was set up to be.
These are the most important aspects of Warren’s platform on sustainable energy, and they all tie into the fact that we need to reduce our dependency on foreign oil and fossil fuels not just for the environment and our future, but because our economy and national security will also benefit.
- Geoff Diehl (R)
- John Kingston (R)
- Beth Lindstrom (R)
- Shiva Ayyadurai (I)
- John Devine (I)
- Lou Gallo (I)
- Allen Waters (I)
U.S. House of Representatives
Find your district here.
Rich Neal has a history in Congress of supporting legislation that protects the environment and gives renewable energy a chance to compete in the energy economy. He wants to rejoin the Paris Climate Accord and opposes lifting the offshore drilling ban.
Neal is a ranking member of the Ways and Means committee and has used his position to promote renewable energy through the production of wind turbines and solar panel installation. Neal opposed the tax breaks for the fossil fuel, oil, and coal industries and has refused to entertain the idea of offshore drilling, especially in the Arctic.
Neal also introduced legislation that extends energy tax credits for renewable energy in homes, and also for energy efficiency. He also led changes that stemmed from Congressional incentives to improve wind and solar incentives, which is another reason we want to keep Neal in Congress.
Jim is a long-time political and has been a force that has brought success to green energy startups in Massachusetts. He recently voted in favor of the tax on carbon emissions, which, if it had passed, would have been a big step for environmental justice.
The Land and Water Conservation Fund was one of Jim’s babies, and he has been a leading voice in making sure it remains funded. This means that public areas like National Parks, the Bureau of Land Management of US Fish and Wildlife Service, and the Forest Service are all funded and open to the public.
We like Jim because he is a proven asset to saving the environment and has helped reduce pollutants and introduce legislation that calls for transparency when it comes to the environment. He’s done a good job so far, so here’s hoping he keeps up the good streak.
Our pick: Dan Koh (D)
Koh has a 4 step plan that he wants to bring to Congress as far as sustainable energy and the environment go. Here’s a summary of those four steps:
1.) Cutting Greenhouse Gas emissions is the first step in Koh’s plan. He wants to jump right back into the Paris Climate Agreement and make America a leading figure in the fight against climate change. He wants to bring more power back to local governments so that communities have the opportunity to protect the environment they live in. He has some experience in working with city policies to make them carbon neutral, and that experience will prove invaluable in Washington. Koh also would like to keep amping up and supporting the Clean Power Plan, which would limit carbon emissions by power plants. Additionally, he proposes that we spend more money finding research for environmentally friendly types of energy instead of giving fossil fuel companies more tax breaks.
2.) Supporting research and development in renewable energy is another leg of Koh’s energy platform. This includes tax incentives for mainstreaming wind energy and making turbines more cost-effective and prevalent. As far as solar power goes, he wants to introduce heavily tax credits to encourage installation and production. Koh also has his sights on introducing and upgrading the power grid so that we can reliably store renewable energy. To top it off, Koh has a vision of improving energy efficiency in buildings, cars, and industrial plants, making energy affordable, and lessening the impact on the environment.
3.) Supporting the improvement of environmental quality and safeguarding our resources is the third leg of Koh’s energy platform. Making sure that our wildlife reservations, national parks, monuments and public lands are deregulated, and authorizing pieces of legislation like the Land and Water Conservation Fund, which help mitigate the effects of offshore drilling and oil extraction. He also strongly supports the Recovering America’s Wildlife Act, wants to introduce more legislation that will positively impact animal populations. A really cool thing that Koh mentions that you don’t see often with other candidates, is that he has recommended a plan to clean of hazardous materials and redeveloping toxic areas and former industrial sites where low-income families now live. Koh has also stated that he opposes offshore drilling and fracking.
4.) The final part of Koh’s platform revolves around preparing communities for climate change. Since we have reached a point where climate change is affecting, and will continue to affect, our daily lives, he wants to make sure that his constituents are prepared for the consequences. This includes educating and empowering local communities to take action and support initiatives that fund climate change research and educational programs. Since natural disasters will continue to increase in frequency, he also wants to address these threats to our infrastructure, and prepare communities for the backlash of these bizarre weather patterns.
Ultimately, Koh wants to stop the disastrous policies that are currently in place that are protecting fossil fuel industries and other practices that cause extreme pollution and pose a threat to national security and the domestic economy.
- Barbara L’Italien (D)
- Jeff Ballinger (D)
- Alexandra Chandler (D)
- Abhijit “Beej” Das (D)
- Rufus Gifford (D)
- Leonard Golder (D)
- Bopha Malone (D)
- Juana Matias (D)
- Lori Trahan (D)
- Rick Green (R)
- Mike Mullen (I)
District 4, you have two great candidates to choose from when it comes to the environment. We’ve provided brief summaries of their platforms.
Joe Kennedy III (D) – (Campaign Site) – incumbent since 2012
Joe Kennedy strongly supports research and development when it comes to green technology. He’s a member of the energy and Commerce Committee in the House, so he has a bit of sway when it comes to sustainable technology. He has been a leading force in trying to turn the EPA around and getting the Agency the ability to enforce even basic environmental regulations that have been ignored or under-funded for a while now.
Kennedy also led an effort in Congress to make sure that energy in New England is available and not at a blistering high rate that would put low-income and rural communities at risk. He works directly with local communities to help them implement their own environmental regulations and sustainable practices without the interference of the federal government. He often works as a go-between for local communities and federal officials so that communities can be green and not go broke at the same time.
Supporting policies like the Renewable Electricity Production Tax Credit and Business Energy Investment Tax Credit have also been indicators of Kennedy’s dedication to making sure that renewable energy has a fighting chance against all the tax subsidies that fossil fuel corporations receive.
Most importantly, Kennedy acknowledges that climate change is a real threat and issue, and has been actively fighting for funds to be allocated to research to mitigate the consequences of climate change while fighting it at its source.
Gary Rucinski (D) – Environmental Activist
Gary is running pretty much on a climate change platform. He has policies ready to introduce to Congress based on three of the major issues associated with climate change as he sees it. Here’s a basic summary of his plan:
1. Emission Control- placing thoroughly researched emission taxes on corporations that will have little cost to the common man, but will force industries to reevaluate their emissions levels and move towards more green forms of energy production and consumption.
2. Concentration Reduction- Gary basically wants to use natural processes like photosynthesis to reduce the amount of carbon in the air and to treat the soil for harmful chemical compounds to bring down the overall amount of greenhouse gasses and pollutants that we deal with. He wants to do this through government funding and using taxes.
3. Emergency Preparation- Since climate change has been responsible for the increase in bizarre and deadly natural disasters, Gary wants emergency funding available for relief purposes. He would also like to see way more research done on how to deal with the worst consequences of greenhouse gas emissions in the event that we can’t mitigate the effects in time.
Clark has been prioritizing climate change since she got to office. She’s a cosponsor of some really great pieces of legislation, like the Renewable Energy Parity Act, the Incentivizing Offshore Wind Power Act, and the Clean Energy Victory Bonds Act. She also has been pushing to get the Production Tax Credit and Investment Tax Credit extended, which are essential to the domestic wind energy industry. We like what she has done so far, and have high hopes that she will be a driving force in keeping these bills alive and funded.
Since she has such an impressive list of green energy legislation that she supports/cosponsors/fights for, here’s a list:
- Renewable Energy Parity Act
- Incentivizing Offshore Wind Power Act
- Clean Energy Victory Bonds
- Production Tax Credit
- Investment Tax Credit
- Streamlining Energy Efficiency for Schools Act (increasing energy efficiency for schools)
- Energy Savings and Industrial Competitiveness Act (increasing energy efficiency in residential, governmental, commercial, and industrial buildings)
- Weatherization Assistance Program
- State Energy Program (these two programs help low-income families, seniors, and the disabled to make sure their homes are energy efficient, provide improvements to meet efficiency goals, and provides funds to the state to help in the cases)
Clark is a member of The Bicameral Task Force on Climate change, the Sustainable Energy and Environmental Coalition, and the Safe Climate Caucus. She addresses climate change on a daily basis and is profoundly invested in making sure that the environment is protected, and that we are moving and investing in green and renewable energy sources.
Seth is a member of a bipartisan caucus called Climate change Solutions Caucus. He works with politicians across the board to try and reach solutions to issues facing our economy and national security while also keeping the environment in mind. He has promised to support legislation that moves America closer to energy independence but also keeps the public health and the environment in mind. Massachusetts and 8 other northeastern states implemented the first market-based program that reduced carbon emissions (the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative) and since its success, he has been using this program as an example of how green and renewable energy can and should go together to bring America economic prosperity and environmental relief. He is a strong supporter of maintaining the Clean Climate Agenda, and would like to broker carbon reduction goals with China.
Our pick: Ayanna Pressley (D)
Ayanna has a very detailed plan of action for the environment that you can find here. We’re going to give you a brief summary, but we would suggest reading up in detail what her plan is.
Ayanna’s first priority is to have community engagement in the fight against climate change, especially low-income and minority communities. Since these populations usually take the brunt of the impacts of climate change and expensive energy, Ayanna wants these communities to feel more involved with the process behind policy and development.
She also would work to reinstate the Clean Power Plan, which reduces carbon pollution in the US. She’s a supporter of giving funding to research and development climate change mitigation and correction, and would like to see these funds given to local governments, organizations, and nonprofits to help at a grassroots level.
As far as the intersection of climate change and public health goes, she supports the Climate change health Promotion and Protection Act, which is a piece of legislation aimed at keeping public health part of the climate change discussion, and keeping funding available for when the effects of climate change start making themselves known in the public health sector.
An interesting element of her platform is the fact that she addresses the importance of sustainable and healthy food, and the ability to access it at all levels of socio-economic status. Agribusiness has a big impact on the amount of greenhouse gas emissions our atmosphere absorbs, and she wants to make sure that our agricultural practices are sustainable and do not spread pollution to our water and food sources. This is a big deal, because what happens in rural areas ultimately affects what happens in urban areas, and it’s a big part of Ayanna’s platform that low-income and minority communities have access to sustainable and renewable food and energy.
In the government, Ayanna wants the EPA to become the environmental protection powerhouse it was designed to be. She wants pollutants and toxins regulated by the government, and for the information surrounding these chemicals and other emissions to be available to the public. She wants strong pollutant and toxin taxes and policies to reduce the harm that industry is having on the environment.
A quick little bit about mass transit and public lands: She supports updating our mass transit system to run on renewable energy, electricity, and to provide tax incentives to get there (especially in big cities). In her eyes, public land should remain public, fossil fuel extraction on public lands should be prohibited, and overall, Native Americans should be more involved in our politics when it comes to the environment and their tribal sovereignty in matters of water rights, resource extraction, and their energy infrastructure.
District 8, you have 2 candidates with some information about how to best address climate change and renewable energy. We’ve given a brief summary.
Stephen Lynch (D) – (Campaign Site) – incumbent since 2001Stephen supports getting off fossil fuels and moving into a renewable energy economy. He wants renewable energy to be researched and developed so that we can move off of foreign dependence for oil, and become cleaner and safer as a nation. He advocates for using energy safely and conscientiously until we can completely transfer off of fossil fuels. His big gig is increasing fuel economy standards and improving public transit to be faster and more reliable.
Brianna Wu (D)
Brianna wants outdated power plants to be remodeled into renewable energy power structures and production centers. She would also like to spend money to improve coastal cities infrastructure in response to the super storms that are a result of climate change. Her big gig is taking fossil fuel companies to civil court, since they helped hide the science on global warming for years.
Bill did a neat thing when he first got to Congress, which was introduce a bill (it didn’t pass) to end subsidies for big oil companies and instead focus on the development of renewable energy. That was and is a big step in the right direction, and even though the bill didn’t pass, Bill hasn’t stopped fighting for renewable energy and the environment. Since we’re lagging behind in the green energy industry globally, Bill has been supporting funding for on and offshore green energy initiatives in Massachusetts, including offshore wind turbines.
He has also keenly focused on another issue that isn’t really a topic of conversation but should be: Nuclear waste storage and removal. The Pilgrim Nuclear Power Plant, which is being decommissioned, needs to be properly emptied of the radioactive waste it has. Keating introduced an act to Congress (the Dry Cask Storage Act) that would require nuclear plants to promptly remove their waste into storage units that aren’t vulnerable to things like natural disasters a terrorist attacks. Since the Pilgrim plant was a big component of local energy consumption, Keating is working to make sure that the employees of the power plant can find employment in the green energy sector by working in local municipalities to get green initiatives going.
Keating passed safe water legislature for Massachusetts when he served in the state legislature. This legislation protects wild bodies of water and protects our drinking sources from being polluted. He has also consistently secured funding to clean drinking water from toxins, such as nitrogen and other pollutants that come from sewage treatment plants and wastewater facilities. He has always supported the Clean Water and Drinking Water State Revolving funds, which help states finance their wastewater treatments plants and improve drinking water.