As a member of the OLCV family, we wanted to touch base in the wake of today’s news that the anti-democratic walkout by the State Senate Republicans has ended. While we’d generally applaud an end to the abhorrent tactics of this group of 11 out of 89 legislators, they are only coming back because they won. Our bill – HB 2020, the Clean Energy Jobs bill – is collateral damage.
We want to be clear. The world was watching Oregon in these last ten days. The message that was sent is this: the future of our people and planet remain in dire jeopardy as the polluters and profiteers continue to rack up victories. And if they can win in Oregon, where can’t they win?
Our feelings run the gamut – exhausted, angry, disappointed. But, the bottom line is this. Wildly unacceptable tactics were used, and in the end, they worked. This is despite our historic work in the last election to elect candidates who ran on a pro-climate platform, despite 2000 activists showing up this session alone to support the bill, despite an unprecedented coalition effort with nearly 60 organizations working together. The Senate Republicans walked out TWICE on Oregon’s children this session. They broke their word, and one of them even threatened violence against colleagues and the State Police. And they won. Some legislative leaders let us down. It’s disappointing – and we will not forget.
We will also not stop fighting. I want to say it again: we will not stop fighting. Oregon must have a plan for reducing emissions. OLCV will continue to stand up for our next generation, and we will continue to stand up for wildlife and wildlands, clean air and water, and environmental justice for all who call this beautiful place home. If you agree, please sign this petition – which we will deliver to the Senate President, the Speaker of the House, and the Governor as session adjourns Sunday, the last day of the 2019 Legislative Session.
A week ago Monday, with your support, our bill passed off the House floor with a 36-24 vote. In a decade of hard work, we have never come so close. The campaign we built together remains intact, reflected in the Renew Oregon coalition. We have seen committed legislative leaders in Rep. Karin Power, Sen. Michael Dembrow, Speaker Tina Kotek, Governor Kate Brown – and they won’t quit either.
Since last Monday, our team has been on fire. Our Executive Director, Doug Moore, has been in meetings and on phone calls with legislative leaders, the Governor, high-ranking staff – all fighting for our bill. Our Political Director Lindsey Scholten has been integral in coordinating with our progressive coalition partners. Oregon Conservation Network Director and Capitol advocate Paige Spence has worked with legislators and our environmental partner groups to put the pressure on those who needed it most. Our Digital CoordinatorFrancesca Varela has been sharing our story far and wide. Our organizers and other staff have been in Salem, Hood River, and Bend, amplifying your voices and working with activists to show our collective strength (that’s our Engagement Organizer Tanya Zarling in Hood River, radiating her positive energy as usual).
We only do this work with your support, and we can only keep doing this work – even on no good, horrible, awful days like this – with your support. Honestly, we need to know that you are with us today. We are all signing on to this petition today, that we will keep fighting for climate leadership from Oregon. Please join us in committing to the fight ahead.
Right now, our new and totally inspiring Young Leaders for Climate Action committee is plotting their next move. The climate justice movement is about their lives, their planet. Watching them lead on this issue over the past week has been one of the best outcomes of this frankly bad situation. Click here or on the image below to watch a video of them in action on the Capitol steps, including our Engagement Organizer Marquis Mason. This is the work that we help support, that YOU make happen.
Thank you for listening! Ask questions, if you’d like, and we will do our best to answer. And please, keep paying attention and keep fighting.