Candidates are Running on Environmental Issues — And Winning.

Last year, The Huffington Post predicted 2018 would be the year of the climate voter — never before has the environment been such a critical and urgent voting issue. More and more Americans are increasingly concerned about ensuring a safe and sustainable future for the planet. In fact, according to a survey conducted by Yale, most registered voters think climate disruption is happening, and a majority of registered voters would vote for a candidate for public office because of their position on climate disruption.

The upcoming November elections are a crucial moment for American voters to decide the fate of the planet and environment. Not only should we be concerned about voting in the right congressional candidates, but we should also be supporting governors who have the power to protect the environment and stand up to corporate polluters. That’s why the Sierra Club is engaging -- and engaging early -- in gubernatorial races across the country. As Trump continues his relentless assault on our clean air and water, we need environmental champions in every level of government to help fight back and lead the transition to clean energy. So, the Sierra Club backed several gubernatorial candidates early on in primary elections to give a boost to climate champions with a record of success in challenging corporate polluters and defending the health of our communities.    

For example, Colorado gubernatorial candidate Jared Polis, backed by a $600,000 campaign run by the Colorado Sierra Club Independent Expenditure Committee, succeeded in securing the Democratic primary nomination through his pledge to transition Colorado to 100 percent clean energy by 2040 and to protect public lands that are the backbone of Colorado’s identity. Polis has a stake in improving Colorado’s economy as well, making sure coal workers have good-paying jobs waiting for them in the renewable energy sector.

In Michigan, Sierra Club-endorsed gubernatorial candidate Gretchen Whitmer will have a say in determining whether or not children and communities in Flint have access to clean drinking water. Her progressive platform is distinct from her Republican opponent in that she has pledged to immediately shut down Line 5 and other dangerous oil pipelines in the Great Lakes to protect public health and jobs in the state.

And even though Sierra Club-endorsed candidate Chris Giunchigliani for Nevada didn’t win in the primaries, her progressive, environmental campaign and endorsement from Hillary Clinton earned her extensive support in the Democratic primary. Giunchigliani stood up to developers to protect public lands and led the fight against building near Red Rock Canyon, proving that defending our wild places is an issue that matters in elections.

As we move on from primaries to general elections, we will continue to support bold, environmental champions across the country. The governors elected in November will be essential in the movement to resist the Trump administration’s anti-environmental and anti-public health agenda that threatens the very existence of our planet -- and we need every champion we can find to help fight back.