Hello, Friday. It’s been a week of ups and downs, that’s for sure. I don’t know about you, but I’m looking forward to one night where I go to bed before ten o’clock and wake up without an alarm.
This week’s must read: Ignore climate change or don’t, you’re still paying for it (Charleston City Paper) Spokesperson Rouzy Vafaie wrote this piece published the day after the election (a day we presume everyone is reading the paper). “I’m a Republican. I bridge the Millennial and Generation X gap. And I’m also part of the growing movement of conservatives who support market-based solutions to climate change,” Vafaie writes. “One thing that frustrates me most is when I hear people protest that climate change solutions are too costly. To these headshakers I say, you’re already paying for climate change, but not in the way that helps the economy or sparks innovation.”
Great job, Rouzy! He embodies the EcoRight.
This week’s must watch: Sick of the bitterness of politics? Let this feel-good story restore your faith in humanity.
House Climate Solutions Caucus decimated: We are weeping for EcoRight champion and climate change-doer-in-chief Rep. Carlos Curbelo, who lost his re-election this week. It’s not hyperbole to say Curbelo has done more over the last two years to elevate climate change as a GOP issue than any elected lawmaker. We will greatly miss his optimistic, bipartisan presence in the House, as will his colleagues. “We will miss his voice, and I think Democrats would say that as well as Republicans,” said Rep. Elise Stefanik, who won her re-election. “He was a leader on immigration issues, on climate issues, and such a voice in the Cuban-American community in Miami.”
Here’s the breakdown on who is leaving the House Climate Solutions Caucus:
Lost: Curbelo; Minnesota’s Erik Paulsen; New York’s John Faso and Dan Donovan; Colorado’s Mike Coffman; Virginia’s Scott Taylor and Barbara Comstock; New Jersey’s Leonard Lance; California’s Steve Knight; Illinois’s Randy Hultgren and Peter Roskam; and Kansas’s Kevin Yoder.
Too close to call: Utah’s Mia Love and New York’s Claudia Tenney.
Retired: Florida’s Ileana Ros-Lehtinen; Pennsylvania’s Ryan Costello; Washington’s Dave Reichert; California’s Darrell Issa and Ed Royce; South Carolina’s Mark Sanford; Michigan’s Dave Trott; and Kansas’s Lynn Jenkins. At least four of the open seats flipped blue, with some races still to be called.
With only somewhere between 22-26 of the current 45 GOP members of the bipartisan Caucus not coming back in 2019, the fate of the group is in jeopardy. But the EcoRight has faith that a returning member will step forward to fill the shoes of Curbelo.
Full steam ahead: Speaking of filling shoes, Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick, another bright outcome on the election, has already announced he will carry Curbelo’s carbon tax mantle.
“We lost Carlos tonight. It’s heartbreaking … but I’m going to push [the MARKET Choice Act] as hard as ever,” Fitzpatrick said in an interview with E&E News. “He was my colleague on that bill, so now I’m going to find another partner that can help me on it.”
Welcome to the Senate: Other good EcoRight news, former Presidential candidate and Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney is headed to the Senate to represent Utah. Sending Romney to the upper chamber might restore some of the civility lost with the death of Senator John McCain in August. He’s an EcoRighter who recently said: “I happen to believe that there is climate change, and I think humans contribute to it in a substantial way, and therefore I look with openness to all the ideas that might be able to address that.”
Climate governors: Three pro-clean energy and climate action GOP governors return to their respective statehouses. Maryland’s Gov. Larry Hogan, Vermont’s Gov. Phil Scott, and Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker all won re-election this week. Their states are part of the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative and those three governors have worked tirelessly to advance climate change policies to reduce greenhouse gases.
Climate jester: For the gazillionth time, President Donald Trump is our climate jester, this time for his inconsiderate remarks aimed at losses sustained by Curbelo and other House Climate Solutions Caucus members. “I’m not sure that I should be happy or sad, but I feel just fine about it,” he said. Our kudos for Curbelo’s retiring delegation mate, Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen for coming to their defense. “It’s just so demeaning, the way that [Trump] talks about individuals who commit the crime of not agreeing with him,” she countered. “Election night was terrible for moderate Republicans.” Climate change is one of the major issues that separated the president from the members he named.
Visions of voting: Ending on a positive note, on Election Day, the staff of republicEn shared what voting means to them. You can find our reflections here, and check out our excited faces below. On the left, Wen and her husband Chris biked to their voting station, and on the right, your fearless writer braved the rain (and walked past the biggest poison ivy bush ever without being attacked) to get to the polls.
Get some sleep! Enjoy the three-day weekend.