by Carin Skoog, global warming solutions coordinator, Fresh Energy
Just this morning (Thursday, August 21st), the 3rd Congressional district candidates for Congress squared off in their first debate. Hosted by the TwinWest Chamber of Commerce at General Mills Headquarters, this early morning event was attended by more than 250 business leaders from around the district. Questions were moderated and could be submitted in advance, and despite one question related to rising energy costs, the business community did not prioritize any specific questions about climate action. Surprising, considering that 32 of the largest corporations in the world support federal action on global warming. The United States Climate Action Partnership (U.S. CAP) is a group of businesses and leading environmental organizations that have come together to call on the federal government to quickly enact strong national legislation to require significant reductions in global warming pollution.
But despite a lack of emphasis on climate, all the candidates broadly addressed energy and the environment in a few of their answers to other questions. One candidate best summed up the bottom line, saying, “We are not going to be able to drill our way out of our energy problem, we are going to need to think our way out of our energy problem.” This is the kind of leadership we need to see in Washington.
Attending debates like this as well as town hall forums are great ways to find out about candidates’ positions on important issues. But what if your daughter’s soccer game conflicts with that scheduled time? You can always pick up the phone and call their campaign office, or write a letter to the editor hoping for a more public response. But now there’s a fast and easy way for you bloggers and internet users to ask the candidates for Congress in your district about their positions on important issues like reducing global warming pollution and increasing clean energy and energy efficiency. And it’s only a mouse click away!
Developed by the Natural Resources Defense Council Action Fund, CandidAnswers is a new online voter guide that allows you to directly ask your Congressional candidates five questions on the intersections between energy and the environment. The questions — focusing on global warming and energy issues — were developed in collaboration with leading policy experts at the nation’s top environmental organizations and endorsed by a bipartisan review panel. With CandidAnswers, candidates can conveniently and publicly indicate and explain their positions. Responses will be displayed as a side-by-side comparison so that constituents can see where their candidates stand on these important issues.
Using CandidAnswers is incredibly simple. Just enter your zip code and the website will display your Congressional candidates and indicate whether they’ve already responded to the five questions. If not, you can send an email asking them to do so with just one click. If a candidate doesn’t respond to a request within 14 days, CandidAnswers will let you know, and you can ask again. (Keep in mind, any questions submitted now will be stored in a queue and sent to the candidates after the Minnesota primary on September 9th.)
Election Day will be here before you know it, so get your CandidAnswers now!