To harness the incredible energy of climate activists since the election, a coalition of environmental and women’s groups will offer a free training to pro-environment women who want to run for office on April 30, the day after the People’s Climate March in Washington, DC.
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.
As the new board chair of Rachel’s Action Network, I’m nervous and excited to take on the leadership of our small but mighty organization! I’m eager to work to empower women leaders to influence the political process, and I look forward to working with RAN members to raise our voices on behalf of the environment. It’s clear that our current environmental policies are not enough, and there’s no time to waste!
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.
In her first term, Senator Jeanne Shaheen of New Hampshire has already made a name for herself as a clean energy and conservation champion in the Senate. On a teleconference call with RAN members this summer, Shaheen discussed her work on environmental policy, particularly her bipartisan energy efficiency bill, as well as the importance of voter turnout in electing environmental candidates.
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.
Last month, Rachel’s Action Network partnered with the League of Women Voters to host a breakfast celebrating the accomplishments of the women of Congress. Members of both organizations gathered at the Sewall-Belmont House in Washington, D.C. to hear from Senator Kay Hagan of North Carolina and Congresswoman Donna Edwards of Maryland.