Who Will Fight Climate Change? Meet Paul Clements


Four years ago, the L.A. Times named Congressman Fred Upton our planet Earth’s number 1 enemy in Congress. He continues to excel. As a climate science denier and chair of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, Upton is the most powerful Representative working to block action to rein in global warming. And now he is putting our Great Lakes in danger as well.
 
Five Republican U.S. Representatives from Michigan, and all Michigan’s Democratic Representatives and Senators just sent a letter to Justin Trudeau, the new Prime Minister of Canada. The letter urges the Canadian government to deny Ontario Power Generation permits to build a giant nuclear waste facility underground, less than a mile from Lake Huron. Nuclear waste remains toxic for tens of thousands of years. No matter how geologically secure they say the site may be, this is too close.
 
Congressman Upton refused to sign the bipartisan letter with his Republican colleagues. He is, literally, placing the Great Lakes in danger to accommodate the short term needs of his campaign donors. It's the way Fred Upton rolls.
 
Upton has received hundreds of thousands of dollars in campaign contributions from nuclear, oil, and natural gas companies. He’s been giving private profits precedence over environmental security for so long, it seems it has just become habit.  
 
Our Great Lakes are a national treasure and particularly a treasure in Michigan; it’s our duty to protect them.
 
And we need to make polluters pay for the costs of their pollution.
 
The environment can’t speak for itself, but it doesn’t forget. We need to hold legislators like Congressman Upton accountable for undermining our collective future. And that has a lot to do with why Blue America has endorsed the progressive Democrat, Paul Clements, running for his southwest Michigan district seat.

This week Paul told us that "In Congress I will work for American leadership in addressing climate change. Next month's conference in Paris won't take us nearly far enough. Without much stronger leadership we can't stop warming at 2 degrees, and maybe this is too high. But dealing with the effects of climate change will also present unprecedented international challenges, and, frankly, our international institutions are woefully unprepared. Without better cooperation we will degenerate into a fortress mentality. I will lead in rising to the challenge."

This is looking like a good year for progressives and clean energy advocates in Michigan. Please consider digging deep and contributing to Paul's grassroots campaign, which you can do here.



People's Climate March. Because, Fred Upton.

As the UN prepares for a Climate Change summit hosted by Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, Tuesday, this morning New York saw a massive People's Climate March down the west side of Manhattan, one of dozens of climate change events around the globe.

Ban Ki-moon: "Saving our planet, lifting people out of poverty, advancing economic growth... these are one and the same fight. We must connect the dots between climate change, water scarcity, energy shortages, global health, food security and women's empowerment. Solutions to one problem must be solutions for all."

All Blue America- endorsed candidates are "good on Climate." Our candidates are all enthusiastic about the march and about the summit.  And no one is better on this than Michigan congressional candidate Paul Clements.

He may be a progressive across all the important issues that Americans face but I always get the feeling that Climate Change is what motivated Paul to run for Congress. And he's running for the seat occupied by the #1 biggest enemy of the environment in the entire country, House Energy Committee Chairman Fred Upton. Yep-- the man who bottles up all the environmental and climate proposals and never lets them see the light of day.

This morning Paul told us that "Climate change is the greatest threat facing Michigan and our world in the 21st century. We need bold leadership on combatting climate change, both domestically and internationally. America needs to lead this charge and create the economy of the future while doing so."

"Congressman Upton isn't just a part of the problem on climate change," he continued, "he is the problem. The L.A. Times named him "One of the biggest threats to Planet Earth.” That’s not hyperbole. Upton has led the effort to deny science and prevent any action on climate change. He hasn’t just worked to stop proactive legislation, but has consistently sided with polluters and worked to fast track devastating projects like the Keystone pipeline. He has voted to protect the tax breaks for oil and gas companies as their profits have increased to record levels."

After another pipeline explosion and more pollution this week, progressive organizations have joined with western Michigan residents in calling for Upton to give back the gigantic campaign contributions he's scooped up from Big Oil and Gas. Adam Green from PCCC: "Republican House Energy Chair Fred Upton has taken $2,091,236 from big oil, gas, and other energy interests-- and voted with them against his constituents. PCCC members are calling on Upton to give his money from big polluters to local cleanup efforts-- and to stop voting with his big-money donors." And May Boeve, executive director of 350 Action made a similar suggestion: "Companies like TransCanada couldn’t care less about our health or or climate. Greed is what drives them, and their campaign dollars are driving climate denial in Congress. Activists fighting TransCanada’s Keystone XL pipeline have known this for years: Members of Congress who take the most fossil fuel money are the ones most eager to help fossil fuel companies wreck our climate by building risky pipelines like Keystone XL. Voters need to know that Fred Upton is beholden to fossil fuel companies who don’t have their best interest at heart. We are proud to join PCCC in calling him out."

It's an issue that's effective in a part of Michigan that prides itself on its natural beauty and clean environment. More and more voters are starting to worry about what Upton's role has actually been in these matters. Clements pointed out that "At the same time he protected their tax breaks, Upton personally had at least $238,000 in oil and gas company stock and he has received over $644,000 dollars in contributions from the industry. Upton directly received contributions and profited from supporting tax breaks for oil and gas companies while middle class families pay the price. My passion for the environment, specifically climate change, is one of the main reasons I decided to challenge Congressman Upton and run for Congress. For years, I have studied the politics of climate change and how to make our economy stronger while combatting it. I'm proud of my friends marching in New York to change the status quo and save our planet. Activists like Bill Mckibben have been leading the charge while Congress has been absent, and it's time to change that."

 Blue America would like all of our members to consider supporting this week's Climate activities by helping Paul Clements replace Fred Upton in Congress.

The Democrats may not win the House back but the message of Clements beating Upton would resound decisively across the country. Please consider contributing to Clements' campaign here.



Blue America Welcomes John Waltz


You know what I love for Blue America? When we find a perfect candidate and he or she is running against a perfect villain. Michigan's 6th district offers us just that combination this cycle and I want to introduce you to Democrat John Waltz, a movement progressive, who's taking on cartoonish plutocrat, Fred Upton, the Whirlpool heir who has always treated the district as though it were a feudal fiefdom. Upton, by inheritance one of the richest members of the House, was appointed to the SuperCommittee by his crony John Boehner because Republicans know he will never agree to anything sensible that can in any way help dig the middle class out of the economic mess the modern day Robber Barons, in their unparalleled greed, have created for the rest of us. Today the man we hope will finally retire Upton from political life, John Waltz, will be joining us for a live blog session here in the comments section at 2pm, ET (11am, PT).

A 34 year old Iraq War vet, John is a completely dedicated champion for a commonsense progressive agenda, born and raised in Kalamazoo, the heart of the 6th district. It's a district Bush won in 2000 and 2004 with, respectively 52 and 53%. In 2008 Obama took the district 54-45%. When I started talking to John about this race this summer, he told me he feels Upton is alienating his constituents with his conspicuous, if defensive, move towards the Tea Party. "I fully expect him to propose privatizing Social Security, gutting Medicare, gutting the VA budget, working to get rid of the EPA, all to protect tax cuts for the 1,400 millionaires who didn't pay a dime in income taxes last year... and to do so again and again while normal people shoulder the load." John Conyers, Michigan's most progressive political leader, was out of the box endorsing Waltz.

Although Waltz has a lot to say on every major issue facing America today-- and all of it is spot on-- his campaign is all about getting the economy working again for ordinary American families. Talking to him this week, I didn't gather he was from the Tim Geithner/Rahm Emanuel/Harold Ford end of the Democratic Party.

The last ten years we have been transformed into a nation that has been brainwashed into thinking that they will one day be millionaires and that only their needs matter. The shame we bear as a nation is that we were unified by the tragedy on 9/11. It was short lived though and the last ten years will be remembered in history as the decade our economy was systematically looted by Wall Street, which was enabled by politicians in DC.

Instead of focusing on getting folks back to work and getting our economy back on its feet we have been lulled by the constant cries that we need to fix our deficit. The only deficit we need to fix is the chasm between the rich and the rest of us. While the middle class (what is left) and the poor are clawing away at just paying the essential bills, keeping a roof over our heads, and sending our kids to school, millionaires are basking in the glory of a government that coddles their every need. This is not the America I know, you know, or the one I thought I was fighting for when I joined the military.




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