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The Planet

The Planet
December 1998 Volume 5, Number 10

Election Elation


Two Udalls in Congress are worth more than two Bushes in the statehouses.

Congress got greener, the faces of environmental foes got redder and skies got bluer for Americans as a result of the Nov. 3 elections.

Candidates who campaigned on protecting the environment won races from California's redwoods to the New York islands. The Sierra Club championed 43 priority races and won in 38 of them for an 88 percent success record (see list below).

"Voters said 'no' to divisive partisan politics and 'yes' to solving the problems that affect their daily lives - including cleaning up our air and water and fighting sprawl," said Sierra Club President Chuck McGrady. "The contrast between Club-backed candidates and their opponents was like the difference between a clear day and a smog alert."

Among the Club's priority candidates were cousins Tom Udall in New Mexico and Mark Udall in Colorado. Both won, inspiring McGrady to quip, "Two Udalls in the Congress are worth more than two Bushes in the statehouses as far as protecting the environment goes."

Pleased with the overwhelming win for the environment, Sierra Club Political Campaign Chair Lynn Frock said, "The Sierra Club just completed one of its most successful political cycles. We helped usher Al D'Amato - a New York senator for 18 years - out of the capital, were instrumental in helping Sen. Barbara Boxer keep her seat in California, and in many other races worked successfully to elect or re-elect the folks in the white hats." "Thanks to all of the Club's volunteers, staff and members for being so creative and energetic, keeping your eye on the prize and giving these programs your all," said Conservation Director Bruce Hamilton, who - along with Executive Director Carl Pope and others - was glued to the television at Club headquarters in San Francisco on election night.

The environment flexed some muscle at the state level. The New York Times reported that three-fourths of all environmental proposals passed - banning cyanide leaching at gold mines in Montana, protecting open space in New Jersey and imposing restrictions on hog factories in Colorado and South Dakota. North Carolina enjoyed an historic vote to raise the sales tax in booming Charlotte-Mecklenburg to support a $1 billion investment in mass transit, and in California the Club saw 44 of its 48 endorsed state legislature candidates win at the polls.

National and state level results reflect the findings of polls conducted by Greenberg Quinlan Research just before election day: "Environmental issues played a large role in swinging close elections...in which those issues were spotlighted and became a part of the debate." As newly elected Washington Rep. Jay Inslee said, "I really do believe the environment was the cutting-edge issue."

Overall, the Club's Political Committee contributed $500,000 in direct and in-kind contributions to candidates. It also conducted a massive get-out-the-vote program that contacted 250,000 members, close to half of the Club's membership. Here are the victories in the Club's priority campaigns:

SENATE

CA
Barbara Boxer

NV
Harry Reid

NC
John Edwards

NY
Charles Schumer

SC
Fritz Hollings

WA
Patty Murray

WI
Russ Feingold

HOUSE

AR
Vic Snyder

CA
Lois Capps

CA
Brad Sherman

CA
George Brown

CA
Loretta Sanchez

CO
Mark Udall

CT
James Maloney

CT
Nancy Johnson

HI
Neil Abercrombie

IL
Jan Schakowsky

IL
Lane Evans

KS
Dennis Moore

MD
Connie Morella

MI
Debbie Stabenow

MI
David Bonior

MI
Sander Levin

NC
Eva Clayton

NC
David Price

NC
Melvin Watt

NJ
Marge Roukema

NJ
Frank Pallone

NM
Tom Udall

NY
Maurice Hinchey

NV
Shelley Berkley

OR
David Wu

WA
Adam Smith

WA
Brian Baird

WA
Jay Inslee

WI
Tammy Baldwin

GOVERNORS

CA
Gray Davis


Go on to the next article, "Being There: Notes from the Campaign Trail"

http://www.sierraclub.org/planet/199810/elect.asp


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