Al Gore Coming to Oregon for Merkley!
by Sarah Lane, Tue Oct 21, 2008 at 03:46:49 PM EDT
Al Gore is coming out to Oregon to do his part to help send Oregon Senate candidate Jeff Merkley to the Senate. Al Gore has been the leading voice in the fight against climate change. By raising awareness on climate change, he helped change hearts and minds of even the most stubborn Republican politicians. Even with Gore's work bringing climate change to the forefront in American politics, that does not mean Republicans will take serious steps to address the crisis. That's why it's no surprise, Al Gore has decided to come all the way out to Oregon to help Jeff Merkley defeat Republican Gordon Smith.
Full disclosure, I am the netroots director for OR-Sen candidate Jeff Merkley
People may not know what Jeff Merkley accomplished in the Oregon House. When Jeff was elected as Minority Leader back in 2003, he led a band of progressives and engineered a takeover of the Oregon House. After which, he was unanimously elected Speaker by his colleagues. With just a one vote majority in the House, Merkley led the most progressive, productive, greenest and most labor friendly session we've seen in 30 years. Let's focus on Jeff's GREEN accomplishments in the House......
Under Jeff's leadership, the 2007 session in Oregon was the greenest in the country. Jeff led the fight to pass the following bills.....
As Oregon's House Speaker, Jeff helped push through the most expansive renewable energy package our state has ever seen. Here are some of the steps Jeff and the Oregon legislature made to make Oregon one of the leading states in the development and production of renewable energy:
* Established a renewable energy standard so that 25% of Oregon's electrical power needs to be met by renewable energy sources by 2025.
* Established minimum efficiency standards for a number of home and commercial appliances.
* Provided public improvement contracts for construction or major renovations of public buildings appropriate at least 1.5% of the total contract price for solar energy technology.
* Expanded business energy tax credits available for renewable energy investments
* Expanded the residential energy tax credits available for renewable energy investments
* Established the renewable fuel standard and provided incentives for Oregon biofuel production
* Provided Oregon with a first ever "roadmap" for reducing and eliminating sources of toxic pollution in our rivers, streams and the Pacific Ocean.
Merkley didn't just work to pass huge advances in the production of renewable energy in Oregon. Merkley also worked to combat climate change and save Oregon's land use system. Check out the other important steps Merkley and the Oregon legislature made in creating a new energy economy and fighting climate change:
* Passed one of the strongest global warming reduction measures in the nation by establishing a goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions to 75% below 1990 levels by 2050.
* Created a global warming commission and climate change institute to develop the plan to reach the State's new global warming goals.
* Referred to the ballot the historic Measure 49 to save Oregon's unique land use system - by protecting Oregon's farms, forests, and groundwater. Measure 49 was overwhelmingly passed by voters.
* Expanded Oregon's bottle bill for the first time since it's passage in 1971 by adding water bottles and flavored beverages to those covered by the bill.
* Required the Department of Energy to reduce energy consumption in State buildings by 20% by 2015.
* Created one of the nation's strongest electronic recycling programs that allows Oregonians to recycle old computers and other electronics.
* Established new efficiency standards for home and commercial appliances.
* Dramatically reduce diesel air pollution by funding new engines for school buses, trucks and construction equipment.
* Passed new tough fees on Oregon's worst emitters of air pollution.
* Required DEQ to track the worst toxic pollutants dumped into Oregon's waterways and develop a comprehensive plan to reduce them over time.
Jeff Merkley has been an amazing environmental leader for Oregon and received the "Caretaker Award" from the Oregon League of Conservation Voters. Here's what they had to say about Merkley:
Speaker Merkley was a strong leader who did not carry his ego on his sleeve. He listened carefully and always had an open door to the conservation community. He also cared a great deal about the cohesiveness of his caucus and was able to juggle the tricky balance between moving a conservation agenda forward while ensuring his caucus members agreed to the goals. Speaker Merkley deserves much of the credit for this successful environmental session.
Jeff Merkley was recently asked if he could choose a committee to sit on in the Senate, which committee would it be? Here's what Jeff had to say:
If I had my choice I'd sit on the energy or environmental committee. I believe that our energy security is an important part of our national security and our economic security.
If elected to the Senate, there is no doubt in my mind that Merkley will become one of our leading voices on environmental and energy issues. Jeff believes strongly in investing in solar, wind, and wave energies. Jeff has a detailed plan to fight climate change and create a new energy economy here at home. And, Jeff will work to end the tax breaks for big oil that Gordon Smith staunchly supports.
Calling all Oregonians, Come See Al Gore and Jeff Merkley
If there are any Oregonians or Washingtonians who would like to come to the event this Friday, go here. And, if you're a student or a veteran, you can enjoy discounted ticket prices.
Ballots have already dropped in Oregon and people are voting by the thousands. Republican Gordon Smith and the NRSC are blanketing the airwaves with misleading smear ads against Merkley. Please consider knocking on doors or making phonecalls to help set the record straight. Or, if you'd like to make a donation to the Merkley Campaign and help us air our own ads, you can donate via MYDD's Road to 60 Act Blue Page. The race is a complete tossup and we could use your help to push this race over the top.