November 1997, Volume 4, number 9
The recent campaign-finance hearings in Congress shed light on the orgy of big-money-grubbing undertaken by both parties in 1996. An understandable response to this state of affairs would be to say "a pox on both your houses," and completely disengage from politics, including helping environmental heroes in Congress. And that's just what People for the West, Exxon, Georgia Pacific, General Motors and their dirty compatriots would like us to do.
The special interests who "salvage" green trees, pollute streams, drain wetlands, destroy habitat and oppose clean-air safeguards want us to convert our disgust with the fundraising system into apathy in 1998. Because if that happens, then the big polluters will have an easier time beating our allies, who have staved off their efforts to undermine environmental laws over the past three years.
We must continue to help our allies win their elections by contributing funds to their campaigns so that they can deliver their pro-environment message to the voters. Despite the campaign-finance hearings, our special-interest opponents continue to aggressively attack these pro-environment heroes.
Your contribution to any or all of the five environmental leaders here will help offset the special-interest money that will fund their opponents' campaigns. Please send a check to the addresses listed. Be sure to write "Sierra Club" at the bottom of the check so that they know we'll be standing by them on Election Day.
Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.)
Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) is the Senate's leading environmental champion, with a 95 percent pro-environment voting record, as tracked by the League of Conservation Voters. When she served in the House, she led the fight to protect California's delicate coastline from offshore oil drilling. In the Senate, she has focused on public and children's environmental health. For instance, this year she introduced the Children's Environmental Protection Act, S. 599, designed to ensure that environmental standards are stringent enough to protect children, who are far more vulnerable than adults.
Boxer received the 1997 Edgar Wayburn Award, the highest honor given by the Sierra Club to a public official. In accepting the award, Boxer said, "As long as I am privileged to serve as your U.S. senator, I will be a voice for all things wild and free and for a clean and healthy environment for our people."
Three possible opponents are lined up to win the Republican nomination to face Boxer in 1998. They include a conservative multimillionaire who plans to spend $30 million of his own money on his campaign; the mayor of San Diego, a leader in efforts to block clean-air health standards; and possibly a state official who has been absent in efforts to protect public health and natural resources.
California is the most expensive state to campaign in. Boxer needs to raise $20 million to compete. Since she doesn't get money from big polluters, she needs help from environmentalists. Boxer has fought, sometimes alone, for clean water and air, California's coast, dolphin protection and the protection of threatened parks and wild places. We must now join her fight to remain in the U.S. Senate.
Send contributions to: Friends of Barbara Boxer, P.O. Box 12923, Berkeley, CA 94712.
Rep. Bob Filner (D-Calif.)
With a lifetime LCV score of nearly 90 percent, Rep. Bob Filner (D-Calif.) is one of the House's strongest leaders in the battle against water pollution. This stance is vital because his San Diego district includes the Pacific coastline. Filner also works to protect his district from sewage and toxic pollution that flows across the border from Mexico.
Filner is a strong supporter of President Clinton's stricter clean-air health standards, which will help clean up San Diego's smog. He also supports prohibiting cars that don't meet U.S. emissions standards from entering the United States from Mexico.
Because of Filner's strong defense of San Diego's environment, the business community would like to defeat him. In the 1996 primary, he faced a conservative, anti-environment Democrat who, as a member of the California Coastal Commission, strongly supported efforts to develop California's coastline. The bitter campaign ended with Filner getting 54 percent of the vote.
Filner is likely to face the same challenger again in the Democratic primary next June, and his opponent has vowed to take off his gloves in the rematch. Filner must redouble his efforts to beat his anti-clean-coast challenger, who will be well-funded by special interests. Every little bit will help return clean-water champion Filner to Congress.
Send contributions to: Bob Filner for Congress, P.O. Box 127868, San Diego, CA 92112.
Rep. Connie Morella (R-Md.)
Rep. Connie Morella (R-Md.) is a longtime advocate of conservation, with an 87 percent LCV voting record since 1993. As a parent, she knows firsthand that children are more susceptible than adults to pollution. A strong supporter of the new clean-air safeguards, she also champions a bill that would require more comprehensive disclosure of toxic substances on products and foods.
Morella is known for bucking the congressional leadership by promoting increased funding for international family planning. Last year, she was an original sponsor of a bill that would have repealed the salvage-logging rider. And she is the co-author, along with Rep. George Miller (D-Calif.), of the Endangered Species Recovery Act.
Morella represents a heavily Democratic district in the Washington suburbs of Maryland. In 1998, she may face her most serious challenger ever -- a nationally known Democrat who can raise more than $1 million to beat her. We need Morella's independent, pro-environment voice in Washington. Please help her return to Congress so she can continue to fight for our families and for our future.
Send contributions to: Friends of Connie Morella for Congress, 7101 Wisconsin Ave., Suite 102, Bethesda, MD 20814.
Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.)
Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.) was known as the "mom in tennis shoes" during her first Senate campaign in 1992. Like most moms, she wants to leave to her children and grandchildren a world that is cleaner and safer, with ample forests, salmon and clean recreational waters. She has an LCV rating of nearly 90 percent.
Putting her beliefs into practice, Murray was a leader in Senate efforts to block and repeal the salvage-logging rider enacted in 1995. And despite tremendous pressure from the timber industry, she supported cutting subsidies to timber companies for new-road construction in national forests. Murray has delivered funding for important land-acquisition projects in the Northwest, including a key stretch in the Columbia Gorge National Scenic Area, and is fighting to protect the last free-flowing stretch of the Columbia River.
In her bid for re-election, Murray could face one of two representatives, both of whom have dismal environmental voting records. These, or other candidates, will be well-funded by timber interests and big polluters. We need to make a pitch for families everywhere by helping Murray return to the Senate.
Send contributions to: People for Patty Murray, P.O. Box 3662, Seattle, WA 98124.
Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-Ohio)
Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-Ohio) deserves the Rookie of the Year Award for his environmental leadership during his first months in Congress. Elected in 1996, Kucinich had barely arrived in Washington when he jumped head first into the battle over stricter limits on smog and soot pollution. The power-plant, auto and oil industries wasted no time in attacking the standards, intimidating many legislators into silence or opposition. But not Kucinich. He was instrumental in organizing support for the standards within the House, and helping to convince President Clinton to stand up for them.
Kucinich hails from Cleveland and is a rarity among rust-belt legislators. He is an aggressive advocate for clean air and environmental protection who promotes economic growth. He envisions a "21st century where the American people can have jobs and good health, where industry is green and the air is clean."
Few polluting interests share his vision. Kucinich is vulnerable to a well-funded challenger since he won his seat with only a 3 percent margin. Environmentalists should rally around this rising star.
Send contributions to: Re-elect Congressman Kucinich Committee, 611 Pennsylvania Ave. SE #373, Washington, DC 20003.
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