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Let's send 'em to Austin!

October 4th, 2008

It has been noted elsewhere that this is an election of some importance. This is a once-in-a-generation opportunity for change. For the Texas House of Representatives.

On November 4th, Texans have the chance build a pro-conservation majority in the Texas House, if you support the League’s work today. Texas’ environmental community could have a chance to work with an effective House to pass good, pro-conservation laws in Texas addressing our air quality, precious water resources, and renewable energy. We can see real action on rebuilding the Texas coast, and take steps to minimize the horrific impact of future storms. Texas children can have cleaner air to breathe, safer and better parks and open space. Texas can implement sound, common sense solutions that protect natural habitats and rivers while providing enough water for thirsty megalopolises like Dallas-Fort Worth.

We have the opportunity to accomplish these goals for Texas only if the Texas House of Representatives comes to truly represent Texas’ pro-conservation majority. Luckily, Texas is blessed with a slate of great candidates from every part our state. Visit our endorsements page here.

I wanted to tell y’all about a few campaigns, in particular, where victories for the conservation community are possible, even likely, if we keep working hard until Election Day.

Rep. Stephen Frost’s number one issue is stopping the proposed Marvin Nichols reservoir in the far Northeast Texas District 1. Rep. Frost has been a good friend of Texas’ environment, as evidenced by his grade of A in our last scorecard. (I’m personally interested in Rep. Frost’s re-election because his district includes the northern shore of Caddo Lake, where my folks have “retired.”). Help the League re-elect Rep. Frost here.

Rep. Dan Barrett is running a great campaign in Fort Worth. The League has been behind him from the beginning. In our 2007 endorsement, my predecessor Colin Leyden wrote that Dan earned the League’s endorsement because he will:

  • require power plants up-wind of Fort Worth to significantly reduce NOx emissions in order to reduce the burden on local businesses
  • require the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) to consider cumulative impacts of new coal plant permits in conjunction with all other pollutant emitters
  • work with nearby cement kilns to adopt and meet the best emission control technologies and standards being met by other cement kilns in the U.S;
  • and help Texas reduce green-house gas emissions by investing in renewable power sources, supporting viable public transportation systems between major Texas cities, and increasing investment in proven scientific methods for carbon reduction.

There’s a real good chance that Rep. Lon Burnam will have some good company in Tarrant County’s pro-conservation delegation. Help the League re-elect Rep. Barrett here.

When Chris Turner wins in District 97, Reps. Turner, Barrett and Burnam could carpool in a hybrid from Fort Worth to Austin. I’ve been fortunate to know Chris Turner for about 20 years. He was president of my high school class in East Dallas (Go Raiders!); he was ready to serve in the legislature back in 1991, and his work with Rep. Chet Edwards these past few years have only made him a better leader. Chris is committed to working for better air quality in the Metroplex and Texas, whether or not he joins the carpool. Help the League elect Chris Turner here.

I’ve really got my fingers crossed for Sherrie Matula and the folks in District 129 in Southeast Harris County. These folks were heavily impacted by Hurricane Ike and for so many of the voters there, they are dealing with the horrific damage from the storm to their homes and neighborhoods. Good folks are working hard to make sure everyone there has every opportunity to vote, but the State of Texas didn’t extend Monday’s voter registration deadline for people in the impacted areas. Let’s hope they’re getting the help they need with the recovery, and that they are able to cast a ballot in this critically important election. (Those of us in other parts of Texas have no excuse for not voting.) Send Sherrie Matula some money so her future constituents have a chance to vote for her and, so that everybody has a fair chance to get to the ballot box, help out Houston Votes, in addition.

Texas is rapidly diversifying in population. Lots of urban and suburban districts may switch parties this time, and pro-conservation candidates have great opportunities to win in these districts with the help of environmental voters: Virginia McDavid, Joel Redmond, and Kristi Thibaut (“thee-bout,” she tells me) in Harris County; Carol Kent and Robert Miklos in Dallas County; and Diana Maldonado in Williamson County. Help the League elect Virginia McDavid, Joel Redmond, Kristi Thibaut, Carol Kent, Robert Miklos and Diana Maldonado here.

There are a lot more great candidates and I could go on and on. But I wanted y’all to know about these races because they’re important and because we can make a difference together. I hope you’ll give money to support the League’s work, and contribute directly to the campaigns of your choice.

Let’s send a message that Texans demand strong leadership on the environment. Let’s elect a pro-conservation majority to the Texas House. Can the environment count on you this election?