It may only be April in an off year, but the push to build a more pro-ocean Congress continues with two critical Senate special elections. On Earth Day (come on, the planet is nearly 70% ocean, let’s call it Ocean Day) we’re proud to endorse two great ocean champions, Senator Brian Schatz (D-HI), and Congressman (Senate candidate) Ed Markey (D-MA).
Senator Schatz was appointed to fill Senator Dan Inouye’s seat at the beginning of this Congress. His special election will come in 2014, but we’ve already seen enough to recognize an ocean all-star. Senator Schatz lists ocean health and addressing climate change as two of his signature priorities, and he put himself in position to lead on both by nabbing appointments to the Commerce Committee and the Energy and Natural Resources Committee (ENR). He wrangled an appointment to the Oceans Subcommittee on Commerce, and, indicative of the respect he’s already earned, was given the Chairmanship of the Water and Power Subcommittee on ENR.
As a Hawaii State House Member, Schatz led on numerous bills for clean energy, sustainable coastal resource management, and fisheries management. As Lieutenant Governor, he championed the state’s clean energy initiative, tripling Hawaii’s use far ahead of schedule. As a U.S. Senator, he’s already drafted legislation (along with ocean champ Senator Sheldon Whitehouse) to put a price on carbon. With his commitment and courage, Senator Schatz will be a leader on ocean issues for years to come!
In Massachusetts, Senator Kerry’s appointment to Secretary of State opened his seat, and we were thrilled to see ocean champion Congressman Ed Markey throw his hat in the ring. As Ranking Member on the House Natural Resources Committee, Markey has called out leadership for their attempts to gut clean air and clean water laws. He’s held Big Oil and other polluters accountable for their actions while opposing expanded offshore drilling. He is a consistent supporter for sustainable energy, and led the House passage of the landmark Waxman-Markey Clean Energy and Security Act to address global warming and ocean acidification. He has been a leader on fisheries conservation, and is a tireless defender of the National Ocean Policy.
The Massachusetts special election Primary is April 30, and the general is just two months later. We’ll be doing everything we can to help Congressman Markey win, as we believe he’ll become the greatest ocean Senator the state has ever seen!