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 Endorses Paul Clements In Michigan

Last week, MoveOn and PPP polled some of the swing districts where the DCCC protects Republican incumbents. The results were breathtaking, especially for media folks who only get their information from Cook and the DCCC. Blue America candidates are on target to beat long-time Republican incumbents and one of the strongest showings was from first-time candidate, Paul Clements, who's running against Fred Upton in western Michigan. Upton is underwater in terms of his constituents' approval. Only 34% approve of his job performance. 53% disapprove. And if the election were held today, only 38% would vote for him, while 51% would vote for a Democrat. While that's really good news for Paul Clements, even better news is that when voters are told that Upton voted for and backs the Tea Party government shut down, his re-elect numbers really go south. Only 36% of those polled say they would vote for him. 56% say they would vote for his Democratic opponent.

Also last week, Paul Clements introduced Bill McKibben, America’s leading activist on climate change, to an audience of thousands in Kalamazoo. This is important because Kalamazoo is the biggest city in Michigan's 6th district, and in 2014 this district will be ground zero in the fight for action on climate change.

This part of Michigan has been represented by Fred Upton for 20 years but when he was first elected he ran as a mainstream conservative. Once Boehner appointed him to head the House Energy and Commerce Committee he transformed himself into a climate science denier and anti-environment zealot: Upton authored and passed through the House a bill to stop the Environmental Protection Agency regulating greenhouse gasses, he tried to stop federal support for clean energy technologies, and the L.A. Times named him Congress’s #1 enemy of the earth.

Clements got into the race because he sincerely believes we need stronger action on climate change. (There is also Upton’s denial of science on antibiotics, his cutting food stamps amidst rising hunger in his district, his votes against women, workers, seniors, the middle class, African Americans, immigrants, and LGBT equality, his vote to shut down the federal government …) Clements is highlighting that Upton changed his views on climate change to get the Energy and Commerce Committee chairmanship-- just one more example of Upton selling out, but in this case literally selling out all of humanity.

McKibben’s talk is the keynote of a 20-event series Clements has helped to organize to raise awareness and understanding of climate change-– the science, the politics, and what each of us can do. Upton is one of the most vulnerable Republicans in Congress but Steve Israel has protected his seat in the past and continues to do so today. Clements environmental series is a key step in building the coalition to defeat him in 2014.

In just the last 3 months, the American Chemistry Council and the American Petroleum Institute spent $340,000 in ads for Upton, and there will be much more where that came from. Defeating Upton will show that to deny climate science is, in political terms, a losing proposition.

Clements needs your help. Blue America is endorsing him for Congress because of his overall progressive vision, as well as for this opportunity to replace Congress' most toxic anti-environment crusader. Please consider contributing to his grassroots campaign here. This is a very winnable race if Paul can compete with the flood of corporate cash Upton has been sucking up.

We are all in this together,

Howie, for Digby, John and the Blue America team




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