As we’ve said again and again, elections matter for the oceans, and this one was critical. Thanks to you, it was also victorious!
As we all know, in politics there are losses, but every loss is not a failure. Our campaign to defeat Congressman Steve Southerland fell short. There’s no getting around it – this one hurt. Congressman Southerland earned his title of Ocean Enemy #1 by trying to gut fisheries conservation laws, kill clean water standards for the state and expand risky offshore oil drilling. His return to Congress could mean more of the same.
Yet it is also possible Congressman Southerland heard from the same people we did during the campaign. Fishermen from the District told us that the conservation standards in current U.S. fisheries law saved their fishery and that Southerland’s proposed changes threatened their livelihood. Other individuals let us know they feared the impact of Southerland’s policies on coastal water quality and tourism. We will be watching to see if he listens to his constituents and works for ocean policies that will help them today and tomorrow.
We’re confident that the full body of our electoral work will continue to heighten accountability for decisions affecting our oceans. We’ll never shy away from the challenge of defeating ocean enemies, and losing the Southerland race only strengthens our resolve to knock out the worst ocean offender in two years. Combined with our endorsements, this sends a strong signal to pro-ocean and anti-ocean Members of Congress that the ocean community is watching, and is ready and able to reward them for positive action or to bring our full force to bear to punish them for harmful action. With your help, our capacity to win will to continue to grow. In the mean time we’ll keep our eyes on Mr. Southerland and any other Members whose policies threaten our oceans and the people who depend on them.
We know that challenges remain, but with the largest and strongest incoming class of ocean champions headed to DC in January, the oceans are better off today. Thank you for helping make this happen. Of course, there is much work to do, so enjoy today’s victories, and prepare to continue the fight!
For The Oceans,
The Ocean Champions Team
P.S. We’ll publish a more robust analysis as the structure and leadership of the 113th Congress takes shape. In addition, we expect to convene an invitation-only discussion with Hill insiders and ocean community leaders before year-end.