One year ago in this column, we said “What is the number one thing you can do to protect the environment and tackle climate change? It’s simple: Vote for climate candidates. In all elections- from the very local all the way up to the federal level, candidates running for office will state their position on the environment and climate change and vote accordingly.”
Especially as we have seen the great damage that climate-warming-enhanced storms are doing in many states, that advice is even more important this year. In addition, climate advocates in local governments are already making a difference, helping residents save money with green choices and lowering the carbon footprint of local government.
Climate is not political. Climate teams in many towns include Democrats and Republicans. Climate action has been a plank in both Democratic and Republican campaigns. All of us need to make this a priority, keep discussing it openly and acting wherever sensible green and money-saving choices are open to us.
An easy way to assess the environmental records of state candidates is to visit the website of the New Jersey League of Conservation Voters (LCV) and under the “Elections” tab look at their 2022 endorsements.
In New Jersey this year they include endorsements for: Andy Kim, D-3, Josh Gottheimer, D-5, Frank Pallone, D-6, Tom Malinowski, D-7, Donald Payne Jr., D-10, and Mikie Sherrill, D-11. The Sierra Club has endorsed these candidates as well, and also Donald Norcross, D-1, Bill Pascrell, D-9, and Bonnie Watson Coleman, D-12.
At the more local levels, our County Commissioners, mayors and Borough Council members all can either accelerate achieving a low-carbon future or, conversely, roll back the gains we’ve made.
The LCV has endorsed over 80 candidates for county and local elections in New Jersey, including the following candidates in Morris County:
• For Morris County Board of Commissioners – T.C McCourt, Judy Hernandez, and Alica Sharma;
• For Boonton Town Council- Marie DeVenezia, Benjamin Weisman, Lauren Mills, and Anne Mizera;
• For Town of Dover Board of Alderman, Sandra Wittner, Karol Ruiz and Marcos Tapia Aguilar Sr.;
• For Madison Borough Council- Rachel Ehrlich (also endorsed by the Sierra Club) and Tom Haralampoudis,
• For Mendham Borough Council- Melissa Rawley-Payne, Melissa Wojcik and Melissa Young;
• For Mendham Township Committee – Martin Slayne and Lauren Spirig;
• For Morris Plains Borough Council- Nancy Verga and Joan Goddard;
• For Morris Township Committee- Jeff Grayzel; and
• For Netcong Town Council- Robert Hathaway
Our municipal and county elected representatives make critical decisions for a clean energy future. Currently, numerous towns are working to support their residents making cleaner energy choices like solar energy, energy efficiency improvements and electric vehicles. Helping residents make these choices will save them money, while preventing municipalities from being burdened with an outdated physical infrastructure in a low carbon world. It will also set an example for what we can do to make a better world for future generations.