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Saturday, January 24, 2015

"The Representative wants to talk with Climate Hawks Vote": CA Rep. Adam Schiff

by RL Miller for Climate Hawks Vote, DailyKos, January 24, 2015
"I was hoping to speak with someone at Climate Hawks Vote," reads the email from a staffer for a Democratic member of Congress. A handful of tweets can catch the attention of Congress, reports a study, and here it took just one tweet. Turns out that the Representative thinks of himself as strong on climate, but his score on our very tough scorecard is only in the teens (scorecard goes from +100 to -100). We've been tweeting scores of potential contenders for the open California Senate seat, like this:
6. @LorettaSanchez has a score of 8 on our scorecard - she's a climate duck, not a climate hawk. She'd need to work hard to convince us.


also seriously interested in : @RepAdamSchiff, who scores +38 on our scorecard. Check out more scores:
So we chatted. I explained the philosophy behind the scorecard - we're trying to identify Democrats who lead on climate. We're interested in how they vote, of course, but lots of other organizations track votes. We're trying something new and different. Who engages the public on climate? Who gives floor speeches? who keynotes clean energy conferences? who holds roundtables with fishermen affected by ocean acidification? who shows up to cut the ribbon at the local wind farm? who introduces bills? who uses the power of the office to communicate with the public that climate change is here now, it's affecting constituents, and action is needed?
Democrats like to blame Republicans for paralysis on climate inaction. But that's only partly true. Too many Democrats don't consider the climate crisis a high priority. They vote against unsubtle message bills to gut the EPA, cut its budget to zero, and raze it to the ground; but they duck one of the most important issues of our time. They don't lead. They don't communicate with their constituents.
ducks CHV
The staffer sent me clippings - public speeches, press releases, local stories. I'd already scored some of it; some was new to me; some fell outside the Climate Hawks Vote focus. The Representative sits on the Science and Technology committee, Energy subcommittee, and posts a lot on facebook - which is virtually useless for collecting public remarks by members of Congress. After a while, a portrait emerged: a Democrat who wants to do the right thing, who cares about climate change, who fights efforts by Republicans to cut funding for important climate science programs, but who doesn't always explain to the public why budget battles are important.
The next edition of the scorecard will show an improvement in the score of the Representative. I hope that the Representative will take a bit more effort in communicating to his constituents the important work he does. And I'm glad to see that Climate Hawks Vote is having an impact in Congress.
Obligatory self-promotion: join Climate Hawks Vote to get the first peek at the scorecard covering Senate Democrats.

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