When people think “California League of Conservation Voters” they focus on the words “California” and “conservation.” And rightfully so. First and foremost, CLCV is the political arm of the environment. For nearly four decades, we have worked tirelessly to seek out and endorse environmental champions and then fund and support their campaigns to help them get into office. This has always been a primary part of our mission.
But every now and again we find a candidate who is not only an environmental champion but also demonstrates leadership in another critical piece of our mission: aiding voters. For the special election in Congressional District 36, we’re lucky to have found such a candidate, and it’s none other than Secretary of State Debra Bowen.
Secretary Bowen has a long track record of expertise and leadership on the environment. During her fourteen years serving in both houses of the Legislature, Bowen authored bills to protect our coast and restrict offshore oil drilling. She also co-authored four landmark environmental laws including the first bills in California to ever address global warming, environmental justice, and create a renewable portfolio standard. She also aided Senator Alan Lowenthal with his critical legislation to clean-up pollution in the Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach.
At a time when Congress is not only lacking environmental leadership but when the majority has become downright hostile towards any attempt to protect open spaces, improve public health, and protect clean air and water, Bowen will be a needed breath of fresh air in Washington.
In fact, if protecting the environment alone was the only reason to send Secretary Bowen to Washington, it would be enough. But electing her to Congress would also add an incredibly important leader in the field of fair elections and open government. While her environmental work has been notable, Secretary Bowen’s single most important piece of legislation was arguably AB 1462, the landmark law that made all of California’s bill information available on the Internet. A voter can easily find out how his or her legislator voted on any piece of legislation because of this bill, so if you’re following any piece of legislation online as it works its way through the California Legislature at the Senate and Assembly websites, you have Debra Bowen to thank for it.
Secretary Bowen also has a record of holding corporations accountable. Bowen was chair of the Senate Energy, Utilities and Communications Committee during the height of the infamous Enron scandal. She was one of the lawmakers leading the charge against Kenneth Lay and Enron and investigating their manipulation of the energy market. Only too recently, Massey Energy and BP ignored safety violations that caused unparalleled environmental disasters and cost lives. We need a legislator who is smart, full of integrity, and has a track record of standing up against corrupt and powerful polluters and hold them accountable. We have such a leader in Debra Bowen.
This is why CLCV is thrilled to endorse Debra Bowen for Congress, and why we will do everything we can to make sure Debra Bowen goes to Washington.