Climate Power 2020 Announces Wisconsin Co-Chairs
Washington, D.C. – Today, Climate Power 2020 announced its Wisconsin Co-Chairs, a coalition of state leaders and activists who reflect the diverse, grassroots movement needed to ensure 2020 is a defining moment for how our nation addresses the climate crisis.
Senate Minority Leader Janet Bewley, State Senator Jeff Smith, State Senator Chris Larson, former Mayor of Madison David Cieslewicz, and Managing Director of LIT Milwaukee Darrol Gibson are partnering with Climate Power 2020 to hold anti-science candidates accountable for embracing anti-science policies that hurt all Wisconsinites.
Fifty-five percent of Wisconsinites, according to polling from Yale University, are worried about climate change and even more think President Trump and Congress should do more to address climate change. Yet Trump and his congressional allies are ignoring experts, refusing to believe in science, surrendering our government to big oil executives, and gutting public health protections, all at the expense of future generations.
“If this pandemic has proven anything, it’s that we desperately need leaders who believe in science. I hope candidates up and down the ballot recognize the urgency of fighting climate change and are ready to take immediate action. I’m proud to join Climate Power 2020 in the fight for bold climate leadership,” said Senate Minority Leader Janet Bewley.
“Wisconsin is no stranger to heavy rainfall, which has led to costly flooding in past years. We need to acknowledge that climate change is playing a role in the severe weather that’s becoming increasingly common here. Wisconsinites deserve a government committed to ensuring the safety and wellbeing of our communities,” said Wisconsin Senator Jeff Smith. “I’m proud to join the Advisory Board of Climate Power 2020 in the fight for climate action.”’
“We are at a critical juncture in our country’s history where it’s incumbent to take action on the mounting climate crisis, and in turn, create a safer and more prosperous future for future generations before it’s too late,” said Wisconsin State Senator Chris Larson. “I’m proud to serve on the board of Climate Power 2020, as my state and others across the country rush to protect vital ecosystems and continue to make smart economic investments in green jobs.”
“The climate crisis is not going away. As Wisconsin plans for the future, we need to take a science-informed approach so that the next generation isn’t facing the consequences of frequent climate disasters,” said Former Madison Wisconsin Mayor David Cieslewicz. “Climate Power 2020 understands how critical this moment is, which is why I’m proud to join their efforts to make climate action a priority.”
“In 2020, we’ve seen that when Americans come together and fight for racial justice, we can cause real, lasting change. As we continue to work towards a better future, it’s imperative that our elected officials take real action to address climate change and put an end to systemic environmental injustice,” said Managing Director of LIT Milwaukee Darrol Gibson. “That’s why I am proud to join the board of Climate Power 2020 and their efforts to ensure climate action is a priority.”
Climate Power 2020 will focus on Wisconsin because of its importance to the 2020 election map and the high concentration of individuals living there that data shows are most motivated by climate change political messaging. The majority – 58 percent – of Wisconsinites believe Trump should do more to combat climate change, even as he dismisses the crisis as a “hoax.”
Wisconsin communities are also living with the impacts of climate change today with periods of intense heat and drought on the rise in the state. Research shows that the severity of summer droughts could increase by 145 percent in the next three decades. Wisconsin was hit hard by heavy flooding in 2019, which caused $10.8 billion in damages across the Midwest, and rising temperatures also threaten popular winter recreational activities in Wisconsin. Wintery conditions for snowmobiling and ice fishing are going to be shortened, if not eliminated entirely, by warming winters due to climate change.
There are key populations of voters in Wisconsin who are motivated by climate change, including Latino and youth voters. Latino voter turnout in Wisconsin dipped slightly from 2012 to 2016 in Wisconsin, from 43.9 percent of Latino voting in 2012 to 42.8 percent in 2016, however, the 2018 midterm election showed a promising sign as turnout rose to 59.4 percent.
While younger voters in Wisconsin saw a lower turnout rate in 2018 than cycles past, they managed to maintain the same share of the electorate who showed up to vote. Like other key Rust Belt battleground states, Wisconsin’s Electoral College votes were determined by a very small margin in 2016, meaning that only a small increase in turnout among young or Latino voters could force a conversation on climate change and force anti-science candidates, including Trump, to defend their failed agenda.
The state co-chairs join an already formidable collection of Advisory Board members, including Founder of Fair Fight and the Southern Economic Advancement Project Stacey Abrams, Rhiana Gunn-Wright, Co-Author of the Green New Deal, Dr. Ayana Elizabeth Johnson, Founder/CEO, Ocean Collectiv, Former Secretary of State John Kerry, Climate Strike Partnerships Coordinator at the Future Coalition and co-founder of the International Indigenous Youth Council Thomas Lopez, Former Secretary of Energy Ernest Moniz, United States Ambassador to the United Nations Samantha Power, Former Senator Harry Reid, Former Investor, Philanthropist, and Founder of NextGen America Tom Steyer, Varshini Prakash, Executive Director, and Co-Founder, Sunrise Movement, and Jamal Raad, Co-founder and Campaign Director, Evergreen Action, among others.