I’ve returned home after a whirlwind few days supporting and ultimately celebrating our newest ocean champion, Congresswoman-elect Gwen Graham, vanquisher of Ocean Enemy #1, Congressman Steve Southerland (R-FL). As you hopefully already know, we still had a remarkably successful campaign, resulting in the election or reelection of 54 of 59 endorsed ocean champions—our most ever in a single year.
When you last heard from me, a few races still hung in the balance. The final tallies have come in, so I wanted to update you. Three of the four races too close to call went our way, but our excitement over victories by WINNERS is sadly tempered by the loss of one of our strongest champions, Senator Mark Begich (D-AK).
I want to thank Senator Begich for his litany of accomplishments while serving in the Senate. He served admirably as Chair of the Senate Subcommittee on Oceans, Atmosphere, Fisheries, and Coast Guard and we are lossing a key champion for the oceans.
As tough as it was to lose Senator Begich’s seat, the other outstanding races involving our champions have all been called in our favor. Congressmen Mike Honda, Scott Peters, and Congresswoman Julia Brownley have all won reelection in their respective California districts.
As a result, thanks to their hard work and your generous support, the 114th Congress will include 67 ocean champions—more than ever before. And you’ll never again have to hear me rail against Congressman Southerland’s anti-ocean antics. We didn’t win every race in 2014, but the future looks bright for our slate of bipartisan ocean leaders. Our oceans and their wildlife face many problems that can and must be solved. We recognize the new Congress will be challenging. We are up for the challenge and ready to get to work helping our champions in Congress!
I can’t thank you all enough, and the Ocean Champions crew and I are all looking forward to a great 2015.
For the oceans,