Three progressive challengers to establishment House Democrats won endorsements for their 2020 campaigns from climate action group 350 Action on Tuesday.
The U.S. political action arm of the international advocacy group 350.org called candidates Jamaal Bowman of New York's 16th district, Jessica Cisneros of Texas's 28th district, and Alex Morse of Massachusetts's 1st district "progressive climate champions, promising the climate leadership required to address the crisis and take us into the climate decade."
"As mayor, I committed Holyoke to becoming the first 100 percent renewable energy city in Massachusetts... This is because my administration recognizes the immediate threat of climate change, as well as the opportunity that exists for equitable economic revitalization within a Green New Deal."
—Alex MorseThe three first-time candidates are all strong supporters of Green New Deal legislation authored by Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) and Sen. Ed Markey's (D-Mass.) which includes a just transition for fossil fuel sector workers as the country shifts away from coal, oil, and gas and towards 100 percent renewable energy sources.
Bowman, Cisneros, and Morse are candidates who "reject fossil fuel money; who will push for a just transition that protects workers; who understand that those who have done the least to enable climate change, now suffer the most for it," said Tamara Toles O'Laughlin, North America director for 350 Action.
Bowman launched his challenge to 12-term Rep. Eliot Engel (D-N.Y.) in June, pledging to fight mass incarceration and the school-to-prison pipeline in the Bronx and push for a Green New Deal to help protect children in his district from the effects of carbon emissions.
First up @JamaalBowmanNY Jamaal Bowman, Democrat running for the 16th Congressional District in New York, on a platform that includes ending the school-to-prison pipeline and the Green New Deal. pic.twitter.com/rG3kPM6inq
— 350 Action (@350action) November 12, 2019
The middle school principal supports "a federal ban on fracking, as this practice not only hurts our environment at the macro level, but also has serious, well-documented consequences for individuals living near fracking sites," Bowman said in response to a survey 350 Action distributed to 2020 candidates. "I also support taxing fossil fuel companies to subsidize the transition to renewable energy."
Engel signed on as a co-sponsor of the Green New Deal legislation earlier this year, but critics in his district have called on the congressman to stop taking donations from military contractors and the International Brotherhood of Teamsters, which backs pipeline projects.
"Wars are caused by and cause climate change," organizer Jennifer Scarlott told the Indypendent in August. "We're asking [Congressman Engel] to stop taking their money."
In south Texas, Cisneros is challenging Rep. Henry Cuellar (D-Texas), a conservative Democrat, who said in August the Green New Deal "would kill jobs for hard-working Texans."
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Cisneros countered that her "vision is that the 28th district is going to lead the nation on green energy and we can definitely do it."
"You know, it's just a matter of believing in our people, and Henry Cuellar really doesn't," the immigration and human rights attorney told Teen Vogue.
350 Action applauded Cisneros on Tuesday for her call to "protect the Earth for the sake of the next generation's future."
— 350 Action (@350action) November 12, 2019
Morse, the 30-year-old mayor of Holyoke, Massachusetts, is running against Rep. Richard Neal (D-Mass.), who has served in Congress for Morse's entire life. Neal has not signed on as a co-sponsor of the Green New Deal—a source of anger and frustration for many of his constituents, including Morse.
"As mayor, I committed Holyoke to becoming the first 100 percent renewable energy city in Massachusetts, even though we have the lowest median household income in the state," Morse said in response to 350 Action's survey. "This is because my administration recognizes the immediate threat of climate change, as well as the opportunity that exists for equitable economic revitalization within a Green New Deal and a green economy."
The three candidates are the first 2020 congressional hopefuls to win the support of 350 Action.
"I'm looking forward to all the things we can accomplish together in this movement to take on fossil fuel billionaires and create justice," said Bowman.