Presidential headaches aside, we’re optimistic about this election year. 2016 is looking greener, younger, and more diverse — and that is a good thing. We couldn’t be more excited about Rachel’s Action Network endorsed candidates. They will bring fresh solutions and perspectives to the many pressing issues we face when they win in November. Remember the budget showdown two years ago, it was the women in the Senate who broke the impasse. When women lead, our families win and the environment wins.
Nathaniel Stinnett, founder and CEO of the Environmental Voter Project spoke with Rachel’s Action Network members on April 12 about voter trends and what groups are doing to give environmental issues greater political prominence. Nathaniel shared polling research that shows the environmental movement doesn’t have a “persuasion” problem; instead, there is a “turnout” problem. The lack of voter demand for environmental leadership is detrimental. Even when environmental champions are elected, they are less compelled to spend political capital on the environment without broad public support.
The election has increased the number of women in Congress to more than 100 for the first time in history, with 20 women in the Senate and 81 women in the House. While an important milestone, this is a net gain of only two women, and only 11 are incoming freshman. Overall, it was a night of mixed results for RAN’s endorsed candidates, with half of our candidates coming up short.
RAN is pleased to announce this year’s endorsements, a slate of pro-environment women candidates running for federal office. These candidates are running in races where RAN members can make a significant impact. They provide us the best opportunity to increase the ranks of women in Congress and build support for policies that will protect the environment and public health.