Trenton – Environment New Jersey congratulated the victors of a set of tight-fought legislative races tonight, including all nine of the state legislators the organization endorsed who stood above the pack for their record of environmental accomplishment.
“There was a clear winner tonight – the environment. From Atlantic City to the Meadowlands, in tight races across the state, candidates who stood up for the environment in Trenton prevailed,” said Doug O’Malley, field director for Environment New Jersey. “From fracking to clean energy, New Jersey voters showed once again they consider the environment in the polling booth.”
The organization endorsed only nine incumbents in the Legislature, including Senator Jim Whelan (D-2), Senator Linda Greenstein (D-14), Assemblyman Dan Benson (D-14), Senator Barbara Buono (D-18), Assemblyman Peter Barnes (D-18), Assemblyman John McKeon (D-27), Assemblywoman Mila Jasey (D-27), Senator Bob Gordon (D-38) and Assemblywoman Connie Wagner (D-38).
Environment New Jersey volunteers and staff members made hundreds of local, personal phone calls to Environment New Jersey members in some of the tightest legislative races across the state. The group organized activist phonebanks in Fair Lawn, South Orange and Trenton over the GOTV weekend, Monday night and Election Day. The organization also sent thousands of district-by-district targeted e-mails explaining the environmental records of individual legislators and encouraging activists to get out to the polls today.
“If you care about New Jersey’s environment, this election could not have been more important,” said O’Malley. “Our Legislature is poised to make critical decisions on the fate of our environment. This November, we couldn’t risk losing a single ally in Trenton.”
The victory by environmental candidates is even more significant after the attempts by Americans for Prosperity, a state chapter funded by out-of-state oil money (including the Koch Brothers), to do targeted voter education in battleground districts. The TV and radio ads directly attacked environmental champions for supporting clean energy programs, including the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI).
“You can’t fool New Jersey voters. Negative attacks against environmental supporters – especially on a clean energy issue – didn’t work,” said O’Malley. “New Jersey voters of both parties support the environment and clean energy, and even in a low-turnout race, those voters come out.”
Environment New Jersey worked throughout the campaign to highlight key environmental initiatives that Senator Jim Whelan (D-2), Senator Linda Greenstein (D-14), Assemblyman Dan Benson (D-14), Senator Barbara Buono (D-18), Assemblyman Peter Barnes (D-18), Assemblyman John McKeon (D-27), Assemblywoman Mila Jasey (D-27), Senator Bob Gordon (D-38) and Assemblywoman Connie Wagner (D-38) supported:
The Highlands Act, a law to protect the state’s northern mountains and forests—also the drinking water source for more than 5 million New Jerseyans throughout the state.
Green Acres funding, which enables the state to purchase and preserve scarce and pristine open spaces.
Barnegat Bay Protections to help reduce pollution at the Barnegat Bay and along the Shore.
The Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI), a landmark law that cuts power plant pollution, makes polluters pay, and invests in clean energy alternatives such as solar and energy-saving buildings.
The Offshore Wind Economic Development Act, a law that promotes generation of clean, pollution-free offshore wind power, coupled with new manufacturing and economic development.
A fracking ban to prohibit the drilling practice known as hydraulic fracturing which injects hundreds of toxic chemicals underground, contaminates drinking water sources, & contributes to air pollution.
Beyond educating the public on the candidates’ voting records, Environment New Jersey told supporters our most pressing environmental issues will need continued leadership in the coming legislative session. They said they hope to continue to work with these legislators to increase the state’s renewable energy requirements, defend New Jersey’s participation in the RGGI clean air program, ban gas drilling from fouling drinking water sources, renew open space preservation funding, and reduce state-wide energy demand to cut pollution and reduce energy costs.
“While we’ve made a lot of progress on environmental issues over the years, thanks in large part to these environmental champions, we still have our work cut out for us. We need fighters in Trenton who will continue to stand up to the polluters and make the environment a priority. Every vote counted this election, and every vote will count in the Legislature in the coming months,” O’Malley said.
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Paid for by Environment New Jersey, 143 East State Street, Suite 7 Trenton, New Jersey 08608. This expenditure was not made with the cooperation or prior consent of, or in consultation with, or at the request or suggestion of, any candidate, or person or committee acting on behalf of the candidate.
Environment New Jersey is a state-wide citizen-based environmental group which advocates for clean air, clean water, and open spaces on behalf of our 60,000 citizen members.