- Pass a Green New Deal
- Create a Civilian Climate Corps
- Shift Away from Dirty Energy
- Ensure a Just Transition to Protect and Expand Energy Workers’ Careers
- Climate & Environmental Justice
Green New Deal
Congress must pass a Green New Deal to transform our energy system to 100% renewables and to create 20 million thriving union jobs across a transforming United States. The Green New Deal must prioritize the voices and needs of frontline communities disproportionately affected by climate change, including Indigenous populations, energy-industry workers, under-resourced groups, communities of color, people with disabilities, children and the elderly. This is our opportunity to initiate an era of explosive and sustainable economic growth, driven by the inception of countless new clean industries that will propel this nation towards equity and prosperity for all. We must not let it pass us by.
Transportation emissions not only contribute to nearly 30% of all U.S GHG pollution, but also amass concentrations of toxic particulate matter and ozone concentrations which threaten American lives. Americans deserve better than mass pollution and high consumer costs. In order to transform the US transportation sector into a clean industry that serves the public at low to no cost, we must heavily invest in infrastructure such as weatherization, high-speed rail, electrified public transit, and active transportation like E-bikes. The Green New Deal must also provide full, permanent, and entitlement-based funding for water and sanitation infrastructure across the country, including Tribal lands and reservations.
Civilian Climate Corps
The creation of a federal Civilian Climate Corps (CCC) would create hundreds of thousands of living-wage jobs in conservation and climate resiliency projects from forest management to green infrastructure. While the new CCC was promised by both the current administration and Congress, it has yet to become a reality. We need true political conviction in Congress to create a Civilian Climate Corps that addresses the existential threat of the climate crisis by creating stable, living-wage careers in climate resiliency and infrastructure for all workers, complete with training programs and long term community benefits. Not only would a CCC provide current working families with the support to transition from oil and gas careers to clean energy careers, it must also provide low-income Black, Indigenous, and POC youth the ability to enter career programs right out of high school.
Right here in Los Angeles, the LA Department of Water and Power works with the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers to build long-lasting, high-paying careers in utilities for Angelenos through the Utility Pre-Craft Training Program. By partnering with unions across the country, we can build a Civilian Climate Corps that ensures strong benefits for all and accessible educational and workforce development opportunities for community members.
California’s Climate Action Corps is another exemplary model for a federal Civilian Climate Corps. While partnering with public agencies, tribes, nonprofits, and educational institutions on climate projects, fellows receive a living allowance, health insurance, monetary education awards, student loan assistance, and childcare and SNAP for those who are eligible. For the good of all Americans, I pledge to continue California’s trailblazing achievements by championing a federal Civilian Climate Corps in Congress.
Shift Away from Dirty Energy
If we want a habitable planet for our future generations, we need to stop investing in new dirty energy projects altogether and shift to clean, renewable energy projects that serve Americans for the long term. All federal oil and gas tax subsidies must end, and that revenue must instead subsidize clean energy solutions. We must establish ambitious and stringent federal deadlines for energy companies which mandate a phasing-out of fossil fuel-based production. We have only 6 years to take legitimate action to limit the average global temperature increase below 1.5C, and yet no real federal measures have been taken today. Through federal investigation, audits, and public suits, we can hold fossil fuel corporations accountable for the damages they have inflicted on local marginalized communities, threatened American environments, and the climate as a whole.
One of the greatest sources of environmental degradation are, without question, the unsustainable production and consumption practices of conventional agriculture systems across the globe. 10% of all US emissions are sourced from agricultural land usage, which is largely land cleared to grow livestock feed (127 million acres; far more than what is used to grow our own food). With regenerative grazing and farming practices, regulation on animal feed, subsidies for environmentally responsible farming practices, encouragement of the Flexitarian diet, and a reformed US Farm Bill, we could dramatically reduce land usage, GHG emissions, water usage, water pollution, and soil erosion throughout the US, while improving working conditions and crop sustainability for American farm laborers.
When big agriculture corporations lobby the USDA, not only does the environment suffer, but small farmers suffer too. The omnibus Farm Bill is currently designed to only support the supply process of large corporations in the meat and dairy industry. By primarily subsidizing and insuring animal-feed crops like corn and soy, the Farm Bill helps agricultural corporations push small farmers out of operation, while incentivizing the over-production of commodity crops that cause millions of acres of American land to be permanently lost or degraded. A Green New Deal must elevate the voices of small farmers and transform federal policy away from protecting the interests of destructive corporations, who depend on the taxpayer’s dollar to cheat the system. We must establish a food system built upon practices of sustainability, innovation, and responsibility.
Ensure a Just Transition to Protect and Expand Energy Workers’ Careers
Oil and gas workers deserve protected, safe, and high-paying careers in energy. The fossil fuel industry does not support that reality. Working and living close to petroleum and mining operations is linked to increased rates of cancers and other fatal diseases, including childhood leukemia. It’s time to support working families by funding federal projects such as mine reclamation and cleanup in addition to green infrastructure.
One study showed that employing oil and gas workers for cleanup and reclamation projects in mines and plants could create tens of thousands of jobs in Appalachia alone, while also helping prevent future landslides and wildfires, increasing local tourism economies, and improving air and water quality.
In addition, any public green infrastructure projects must include broad worker protections, living wages, health insurance, and other supportive benefits for workers and their families. No worker left behind.
The transition to a clean energy future must empower the communities most affected by pollution and ensure that workers have unionized, thriving-wage jobs. No one should be left behind. A just transition is based on the principle that everyone has a fundamental human right to clean air, water, land, and food in their workplaces, homes, schools, and environment.
A just transition requires significant federal investment in education, jobs training, and safety nets for communities impacted by environmental injustice and climate disasters. The costs of achieving sustainable development, a healthy economy, and clean environment should not be borne by current or future victims of environmental and economic injustice and unfair policies.
Environmental Justice in Southern California
Communities of color are disproportionately affected by environmental toxins produced by the fossil fuel industry. Los Angeles remains the largest urban oil field in the country; about 580,000 LA county residents live less than a quarter mile from an active oil well, and even more live close to an abandoned oil well. Many of these oil wells sit in close proximity to Black and Latine neighborhoods. As a result, LA residents experience life-threatening air, water, and soil pollution from these toxins. Under our current system, it can take from years to decades to see change in a single community. That’s unacceptable. It is crucial to address the harmful consequences that vulnerable communities face through supporting just initiatives that put people over profit and guarantee all residents access to clean, water, and soil. I pledge to work with community stakeholders to pass legislation that will protect families from fossil fuel, pharmaceutical, and agricultural pollution, and to never take donations from corporations that perpetuate these harms.
The Current Reality
We’re running out of time. Due to the failure of governments to curb carbon emissions, the world is experiencing record high temperatures, more extreme weather events, and an unprecedented number of climate disasters. The newly-published 2022 Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Report warned of the urgent need to significantly reduce our carbon footprint in order to prevent severe climate impacts. Despite this current reality, our leaders continue to put profits from the fossil fuel industry over people and the planet. When will enough be enough?
LA residents are highly vulnerable to extreme heat, wildfires, drought, and sea level rise due to the failure of leaders to listen to the science and take bold climate action. Here’s how the lack of action on environmental issues impacts Angelenos:
- Los Angeles has the worst air quality in the country.
- BIPOC residents are disproportionately exposed to and suffer from air pollution from smog and oil drilling, which cause asthma, cancer, and higher Covid-19 death rates.
- The entire state of California is experiencing a drought emergency.
- In 2022, California experienced 7,490 wildfires, forcing many to evacuate their homes and posing dangerous air pollution episodes.
- Climate-related catastrophes are costing taxpayers billions of dollars.
- Extreme heat has caused over 4,000 deaths in California within the last decade, and this number is only projected to increase.
Despite knowing of these harmful consequences of climate change for decades, the dirty energy industry runs climate disinformation campaigns, lobbies to preserve tax breaks and subsidies, and pours money into political campaigns — all for the sake of maximizing profits at the expense of people and the environment. Studies have shown that failing to mobilize our society towards a climate response and remaining complacent will actually cost us far more, with some researchers estimating future costs to hover around $1 trillion than taking climate action now.
I’m running for Congress because we need bold leadership to break free from dirty energy pushed by corporations, to heal our communities and the planet. Let’s restore hope in the security of our own futures on this planet, together.