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Ocean Champions: Political Champions for Ocean Conservation

Mark Begich for U.S. Senate

Mark Begich

As Ocean Champions brings a new approach to solving the crisis in the management of our oceans, we cultivate a new generation of leadership dedicated to solving environmental problems.  Today, we heartily endorse Mark Begich (D) for the U.S. Senate currently held by Sen. Ted Stevens (R) of Alaska.

Begich, a lifelong Alaskan who is currently in his second term as mayor of Anchorage, understands the importance of healthy oceans to our lifestyle and economy.  Nowhere are the oceans more integral to the economy than in Alaska, which has by far more coastline than any other state in the country.

As Anchorage's mayor, Begich invested $10 million to remove barriers to fish passage, maintain and restore riparian habitats, and increase public involvement in salmon and watershed stewardship in the largest state's largest city. In 2007, his Salmon in the City program received two national awards - the United States Fish and Wildlife Service Fisheries and Habitat Conservation Award and the Coastal America Partners Award from the Office of the President.

Begich has pledged to fight for continued federal funding for fishery management and research, including the impacts of climate change. He will work to improve fisheries management to minimize bycatch, protect habitat and ensure the long-term sustainability of our fish stocks.  Mark Begich believes that science should determine fishing policy, not politicians. And, he believes any allocation decisions need to be made through an open and transparent process based on strong science and community input.

Begich is already a national leader on one of the most critical emerging issues facing Alaska's fisheries - climate change. He supports aggressive steps to cut greenhouse gas emissions at the federal level while also creating an Alaska Adaptation Fund to help Alaska communities address the impacts of climate change, such as coastal erosion and damaged infrastructure. He believes we need to take steps now to reduce carbon emissions to halt dangerous ocean acidification that could threaten fisheries.

Many of you know that Senator Stevens has been a great leader on fisheries and oceans issues.  But his recent indictment indicates a new direction is warranted.  Our endorsement of Mark Begich serves as a harbinger of a new era of ocean health leadership in the U.S. Senate.

For The Oceans,

The Ocean Champions Team

P.S.  Hey, check out our daily take on the Democratic National Convention at our blog - please feel free to join the conversation.

Why Are Ocean Champions Endorsements So Important?

When you consider that more than 53% of our nation's population resides on a highly abused 17% of our coasts, and only 5% of our nations political leadership champion ocean health; we think it's important to get more Ocean Champions elected.

Ocean Champions endorsements help to elect ocean-conscious Congressional leadership that will better represent our needs.  Our Congressional Champions work to protect waterways while recognizing the direct effect of the oceans' health on our families' health. 

Our endorsements provide:

Campaign Funding- through Ocean Champions PAC.

Independent Campaigning - our unique 501(c)(4) structure positions us as the only ocean group that directly works to elect (and sometimes to defeat) members of Congress.  In 2006 we played a major role in getting rid of "Ocean Enemy #1", Rep. Richard Pombo (R-Ca.), by funding a door-to-door canvas in his district.

Social Networking Support -  (YAY YOU!)  Last year, you and your friends sent thousands of letters and calls of support to Ocean Champions Representatives and candidates who are working to move healthy ocean policy into action.  There is power in your voice.

Campaign Insight - Our unique bipartisan approach provides incredible social and scientific insight to members on both sides of the aisle.

With what is shaping up to be one of the most important election years of an era-it's never been more important to elect Ocean Champions who better represent our needs.

Join Us.  Get Active.  Stay Alert.  Become an Ocean Champion, yourself!

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