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Green Elections 2010

Connecting Candidates and Voters to the Environment

The Opportunity

Election years are important opportunities for the environmental community in the Metro Washington Region. Election years are a good time to showcase issues, be seen and heard, and heighten the environmental community’s profile and influence at a time when policy makers, politicians, the media, and the public are all paying attention to issues. Engagement through education by the environmental community can:

  • Leverage the political process for maximum impact and exposure
  • Engage and encourage candidates to address our agenda and our issues
  • Get the candidates on the record
  • Educate people about all the candidates’ records
  • Bring media coverage to environmental issues that help educate the public, and increase the movements profile and influence.

Environmental nonprofits play a special role in American society. We, the environmental community, are often closer to the problems and the solutions then the policy makers.  The DC Environmental Network (DCEN) believes we have and can continue to leverage this educational opportunity to make more aggressive progress on our issues and move our efforts up on the priorities list of decision makers.

The Challenge

The DC Environmental Network has many opportunities in the upcoming election cycle. We can engage in many ways. Some of the actions DCEN can get involved in the next six months (partial)*:

  • Sponsoring candidate’s forums
  • Educate candidates on issues
  • Issue legislative scorecards and report cards

This year our capacity will be limited to the District of Columbia. We are hoping to sponsor quality candidate’s forums for all the Council and Mayoral candidates. We hope to provide a questionnaire to all candidates that reflect the most current priorities of the local environmental community.

DCEN Green Election Priorities

We will attempt to sponsor modestly sized forums for all major races in DC. We will send educational questionnaires to all official candidates in preparation for the forums. Specifically:

  1. DC Mayoral Forum – Sponsor a Mayoral Forum in early August featuring all official candidates, aiming to accommodate at least 100 participants.
  2. DC Council Chair Forum – Hold a forum with all DC Council Chair candidates in early August.
  3. DC Council Forum –Hold Council Forums for Wards 1,3, 5 and 6 as well as for the two At-Large Seats based on expressed interest by the environmental community. This will be dependent on our capacity over the next few months.

DCEN Accomplishments

“Candidates forums focused on the environment are a unique opportunity to connect and educate candidates with the priorities of the environmental community. It is also an opportunity to connect District residents with both the candidates themselves and where they stand on issues that impact the health and economic sustainability of our neighborhoods.”

Chris Weiss, Director, DC Environmental Network

The DC Environmental Network has led efforts with groups like the Washington Area Bicyclist Association (WABA) and Chesapeake Climate Action Network (CCAN) to sponsor informative forums helping residents understand where all the candidates stand on environmental issues. Some of our accomplishments in the last two election cycles include:

  • Elections 2006 – The DC Environmental Network, working with over 15 environmental NGOs, was highly engaged in the 2006 Mayoral, Chair and Council Elections. We held seven forums including 2 Mayoral, 1 Chair and 4 Council forums in 2006. One of our Mayoral forums at Howard University featured the release of our DC Environmental Agenda and over 300 environmental activists and other District residents attended. Because some of our Mayoral candidates showed up late we sponsored another forum with over 100 participants at Friends of the Earth. All of the candidates participated in this make-up event.

What Can I Do? 

*We cannot endorse or oppose, contribute money and display any bias for any candidates or political party. We also cannot question an individual about his or her candidate or political party preference during any voter registration efforts.