To reach our goal of electing 40 champions this year, we need to identify and help elect new champions. We’ve reached out through our network to interview numerous candidates, and we’re incredibly excited about the three new champions we’re endorsing today.
All three are running for office in the state of Washington. All three believe that healthy oceans drive economic prosperity. All three have established themselves as successful leaders in both the public and private sectors, and all three are ready to lead on ocean issues at the national level. Today, Ocean Champions is proud to endorse Denny Heck for Washington’s newly created 10th District, Derek Kilmer for Washington’s 6th District, and Darcy Burner for Washington’s 1st District.
Denny Heck is a successful entrepreneur with over a decade of leadership experience in Washington’s state government. He’s incredibly knowledgeable about ocean health issues and the specific challenges Washington and his district face, including how ocean acidification is devastating the state’s shellfisheries, and how marine debris is impacting the coast. As he says, “I am honored to receive the endorsement of Ocean Champions and look forward to our work together. Everyone knows about global warming, but ocean acidification is the other CO2 problem and has gone unnoticed far too long. We need to do everything we can to bring ocean health issues to the surface.”
Derek Kilmer grew up on the Olympic Peninsula he would represent, leaving to complete undergraduate and doctoral degrees, then returning home. Since then, he’s been a force, volunteering to improve local education, jobs, and military assistance. As a state Senator, he cosponsored Washington’s leading edge Marine Management Plan legislation and supported regulation of state coal plants through greenhouse gas policies. He also authored a jobs bill that delivered thousands of new jobs, many of which came through stormwater cleanup and Puget Sound restoration. Derek told us, "I'm grateful for this endorsement. Promoting healthy waterways and coastlines is vital to both the ecological and economic health of our communities. As a member of Congress, I will fight to protect the thousands of jobs created by fishing, shellfish aquaculture, and tourism, as well as the clean water and marine wildlife habitat on which they rely."
Darcy Burner’s ability and drive have enabled her to quickly ascend to leadership positions with a number of local and national organizations, and her policy work has influenced Democrats and Republicans at the national level. This rising star of the progressive movement sees leadership on ocean issues as a requirement for a Representative of such an ocean-friendly district, and she’s ready to do the job. As Darcy says, “I am honored to have the endorsement of Ocean Champions. The health of our oceans is critical to the health of the planet and our future. In Congress, I will fight to protect our oceans and the wildlife they support from pollution, human-caused disasters like the BP/Deepwater Horizon oil spill, overfishing, and other potential threats. By working together with others who care as much as I do about our oceans, we can protect this vital part of our natural ecosystem.“