Democratic viewpoints on politics, policy and activism

John Kerry to Speak to Youth on Clean Energy

 Consequences, the youth outreach organization fighting global warming and demanding a sensible solution to the climate crisis, has announced a special conference call next Tuesday with Sen. John Kerry.

According to their email

“Senator Kerry will engage young people across the country to talk about this historic moment in the fight for clean energy. Senator Kerry, the author of the Clean Energy Jobs and American Power Act, understands the importance of youth action on the climate issue and wants to hear from us.”

The call will take place this upcoming Tuesday, October 27th at 9pm eastern.  You can RSVP on their website here.

Inhofe's Radical Environmental Stance Concerns Oklahomans

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Image of Andrew Rice

U.S. Sen. Jim Inhofe’s abysmal record on the environment is a major issue among Oklahomans and could help pro-environment  Andrew Rice in his campaign against the state’s senior senator, according to a recent article in The New Republic.

The June 3 article, written by Marisa Mazria-Katz, notes how state Sen. Rice, 35, pictured right, has put “environment issues at the heart of his campaign.”

On the trail, [Rice] emphasizes his efforts in the Oklahoma legislature to convert the state’s vehicle fleet to clean-burning fuel and to require public schools to reduce their energy consumption. Rice is hoping his larger agenda of alternative fuel initiatives, which include better harnessing the state’s vast natural gas resources, will appeal to a wide range of voters. “There is a segment of Oklahoma’s population that is willing to swing to the other side for the first time in 20 years,” Rice says.

Rice represents a district in Oklahoma City, but he continues to appeal to state rural voters who are tired of Inhofe’s grandstanding on global warming.  Environmental issues transcend political affiliation and the 73-year-old Inhofe seems out of touch with the latest scientific information about climate change.  Even his own political party’s presumptive presidential nominee has proposed a cap-and-trade system on carbon emissions. The article notes,  

While there are other reasons for Inhofe’s drop in popularity–particularly his mishandling of the state’s devastating ice storm last year–environmental issues have surprisingly risen to the top of many Oklahoma voters’ agendas. According to a TVPoll survey taken in February, 86 percent of likely Oklahoma voters believe that the state and federal government must take a strong hand in tackling environmental issues–and so they’re taking a second look at the Republican Party’s hard-line stance on environmental issues. In the same poll, almost two-thirds of likely voters disagreed with Inhofe’s position on climate change, and almost twice as many believed that the Democratic Party was better positioned to handle environmental issues than the GOP.

Rice’s environmental proposals are measured and thorough even as they promote substantial change in how we view and respond to climate change.  He understands global warming’s particular impact on Oklahoma, and he sees an opportunity for the state in creating new energy sources.  According to his campaign Web site,

…Rice believes Oklahoma is in a unique position to lead the way in research and development of alternative fuels and in promotion of clean-burning energy. Also, because of our state’s diverse wildlife and abundant agricultural resources, our quality of life is at great risk if nothing is done.  Rather than standing as a stubborn obstacle to change, Oklahoma’s U.S. Senator should help his state by taking a leadership role in Congress to advocate for reduced carbon emissions and development of alternative, clean-burning energy technology.

The environment, of course, is not the only issue in which Inhofe is out of synch with Oklahomans.  Inhofe remains an ardent supporter of the Iraq war, for example.  He has offered no major deviation from the Bush agenda if he is reelected, yet Oklahoma has a sizeable percentage of people without access to adequate health care.  His political party has offered no real solutions to the health care crisis, stagnant wages and rising living costs.  It is not political hyperbole to argue that Inhofe represents the status quo in right-wing Washington politics.  He is truly a figurehead of dead GOP ideologies, of the failed neoconservative experiment.

Rice remains the underdog in the race, for sure, in conservative Oklahoma. He has raised more than $1 million in campaign money, but it is only half of what Inhofe has raised.  More importantly, the right-wing corporate media in Oklahoma-led by the ultra-conservative newspaper The Oklahoman-refuses to cover in any depth the growing tide of world leaders who oppose Inhofe’s radical positions on the environment.  Inhofe has brought great embarrassment to the state’s residents, but the newspaper refuses to cover the story.

But this is a year of change. The Democrats have their presidential nominee now, U.S. Sen. Barack Obama, who represents the philosophy of change in historic terms, and Republican political strongholds are crumbling throughout the nation.  Rice, an articulate, intelligent progressive, represents a clear break from Inhofe and the past.  He has a strong grassroots appeal as well.  

Grist Interviews Andrew Rice

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Image of Andrew Rice

State Sen. Andrew Rice (D-Oklahoma), who is running for the U.S. Senate against Republican incumbent Jim Inhofe this year, was recently interviewed by Grist, a prominent online magazine dedicated to environmental issues.

Here is the interview.

In the interview, Rice, pictured right, discussed his campaign against Inhofe, who once called global warming a hoax and fights against any federal legislation addressing climate change. Rice also discussed how fighting climate change could benefit the Oklahoma economy.

Rice said, “This is a win-win for Oklahoma, particularly around wind energy. We’re really in a position to be able to provide clean, renewable energy [to nearby states].

“I’ve got two bills [in the state Senate], one that’s going to be converting our state vehicles to alternative fuels, and another that’s going to be doing an energy-efficiency study of our schools and state buildings, trying to find ways to save money. I have rural Republican state Senate colleagues who were very supportive of these ethanol, biofuel, wind-energy initiatives we have; it’s not a partisan issue for them, because they have constituents in their communities poised to benefit from developing these programs.”

Rice’s positions on climate change are reasonable and responsible and stand in marked contrast to Inhofe’s over-the-top, anti-environment rhetoric, which has embarrassed the state.

Click here to get involved with Rice’s campaign.

Environmental Group Attacks Inhofe's Record

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Image of Jim Inhofe

(Yes, please, Inhofe already.  It is time to send U.S. Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-Oklahoma) into retirement. Check out his opponent in the 2008 election, State Sen. Andrew Rice (D-Oklahoma City), a true progressive who supports a full and open discussion on climate change and all environmental issues.)

U.S. Sen. Jim Inhofe has brought more embarrassment to Oklahoma.  The League of Conservation Voters (LCV) has designated Inhofe as the leader of its “Dirty Dozen” list for possessing one of the worst anti-environmental records in Congress.

Unfortunately, the designation ultimately reflects on the state’s residents, many of whom do not support Inhofe’s radical anti-environmental agenda and ideology.  This must include some of his fellow Republicans.  For example, in his ongoing gesture of absurdity, Inhofe calls global warming a “hoax” developed by liberals.  He has been admonished by U.S. Sen.  Barbara Boxer twice at Senate Environment and Public Works Committee meetings for acting rudely to former Vice President Al Gore and a fellow senator as they tried to speak candidly about climate change.

Inhofe not only denies global warming, he also wants to prevent any public discussion about the issue.

“Our future will be significantly impacted by how we work to fight global warming, yet Senator Jim Inhofe won’t even acknowledge that global warming exists,” LCV Senior Vice President Tony Massaro said.  “During his tenure in Congress, Senator Inhofe has made it his mission to vote against commonsense solutions to global warming and our nation’s energy challenges, earning an abysmal 5 percent lifetime LCV voting score and a place on our ‘Dirty Dozen’ list.”

Inhofe is at odds with the world’s scientific community and President George Bush, who believes humans have contributed to global warming problems. Since 2001, Inhofe has accepted $636, 965 in campaign funds from “polluting energy interests,” according to the LCV.

Image of Andrew Rice

Inhofe responded to LCV’s designation by (what else, of course) trying to demonize the organization as a liberal special interest group, according to his personal public relations firm, The Daily Oklahoman.

Meanwhile, former Vice President Al Gore and the United Nation Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change were awarded the 2007 Nobel Prize for Peace Friday for their work educating the world about global warming.

The contrast cannot be greater. Gore, who won the popular vote for president in the 2000 election, wins the Nobel Peace Prize; Inhofe brings more ridicule upon Oklahomans.  It is one thing to be a skeptic about the causes and effects of climate change.  Honest skepticism helps people get at truth.  But it is quite another thing for Inhofe to actively work to suppress basic information about climate change. 

It should go without saying that the world needs to have a full and open discussion about global warming.  Fortunately, State Sen. Andrew Rice (D-Oklahoma City), who is running against Inhofe in 2008, will encourage such a discussion if he is elected.  He will not rubber stamp any particular global warming initiative or report without careful scrutiny, but he will allow all sides on the issue to be heard.

There are many reasons to support Rice over Inhofe in this race, but this issue alone should be enough for Oklahoma voters to send the 72-year-old Senator into retirement.

 

Rice Challenges Inhofe

arice
This was posted today on the runAndrewrun.com site:

After a few weeks on the road in Oklahoma and a whirlwind of meetings in Washington, D.C., it now seems likely State Senator Andrew Rice will soon be filing papers to challenge U.S. Senator Jim Inhofe in the 2008 election.

Since winning election to the State Senate from a diverse, inner-OKC district, Rice has already proven to be a skilled consensus builder who gets results.  He offers a stark contrast to the right-wing curmudgeon, Jim Inhofe.

Rice still says he will make a formal announcement after Labor Day but fundraising prospects have surpassed his expectations and sources close to him say he may be “all in” within the next 10 days.  He has received encouragement on a draft Rice Web site, www.runandrewrun.com, and in meetings throughout the state.  We also hear the DSCC now views Rice as a potential upset challenger in the style of a Jim Webb or a Jon Tester.

Rice lost a brother in the World Trade Center on 9/11 and believes that Bush and Inhofe took their eye off the ball by waging war in Iraq while Al Quaeda rebuilt its global terror network.  Inhofe, who once called global warming a “hoax,” boasts of being “one of the last true conservatives left in the Senate”.

Go to www.runandrewrun.com to sign the online petition urging Rice to run.