THE BLOG
05/31/2016 06:30 pm ET Updated Jun 01, 2017

Hillary Is the Proven Leader On Climate Change

My good friend Cindy Harrell-Horn, one of the smartest and most committed environmental advocates of our time, recently shared her thoughts with us on the presidential election. Cindy and Hillary befriended one another--two mothers--when their children were young. I want to share Cindy's story far and wide because it's one of deep personal connection with Hillary and unveils an intimate understanding of Hillary's compassion and empathy. Enjoy!

Hillary is the Proven Leader on Climate Change
By Cindy Harrell-Horn, environmentalist and mother

For most of my life I have avoided speaking publicly about the issues I care about, preferring instead to work quietly behind the scenes. Yet as I witness each day the profound impact of climate change on the places and people I love, I have decided it is time for me to raise my voice.

Air pollution, years of drought, rising sea-levels, mounting health impacts, and wildfires all fueled by climate change are taking their toll. No state has done more to address this incredible challenge than California. California now leads the nation in solar jobs, and the clean energy sector is growing rapidly--giving our economy a needed boost. Our leadership set a standard that President Obama has since followed to make historic progress at every level to reduce carbon pollution. Rejecting the Keystone XL pipeline, finalizing a rule to reduce carbon pollution from power plants, and securing the international climate agreement in Paris have put us on the path to minimizing the impacts of catastrophic climate change.

While I celebrate this progress, I know that it is all on the line in this election. California needs the next President to be a proven leader with the experience and expertise to start getting the job done on Day One--who not only understands the problems we face, but knows how to build on the environmental progress we've made, and pushes forward an aggressive plan to tackle climate change in a way that doesn't leave anyone out.

There is no doubt that the leader we so desperately need is my dear friend, Hillary Clinton. She possesses a level of compassion and empathy that is rare in politics. I first met Hillary when our children were young. I know how deeply she cares about their future, and even more, about the future of the children that are most vulnerable to the impacts of global climate change. She carries their burdens with her, deepening her fierce commitment to addressing this challenge.

Just as important, Hillary has spent a lifetime honing the skills needed to get things done amidst partisan rancor. As a Senator and Secretary of State, Hillary was a tireless advocate for environmental protection. I've witnessed her skillful and effective efforts to protect clean air and clean water. I watched her vote repeatedly to incentivize wind and solar power. And I've seen her nimbly collaborate across party lines to help create job training programs for renewable energy workers. She twice introduced legislation that would prioritize investment in cleaner energy, and signed on to legislation to reduce the worst air pollutants from power plants. She launched the Climate and Clean Air Coalition, which brought together 37 countries and 44 non-state partners.

As a candidate, Hillary has a bold, ambitious plan for building on President Obama's climate action plan and taking us further. Her plans include aggressive investments in solar and wind power, further reductions in climate pollution from not only carbon dioxide but methane, and a transition away from dirty fossil fuels, including opposition to offshore drilling, coal leasing and fossil fuel extraction on public lands. Her leadership earned her an important early endorsement from the League of Conservation Voters Action Fund.

Californians also understand that the clean water crisis in Flint, Michigan is not an isolated incident. Organizations have been advocating for clean water in the Californian Central Valley for a decade. Yet many low-income Latino communities in our San Joaquin Valley continue to wait for safe drinking water to return to their taps. It's a tragic fact that communities of color in this country are unfairly shouldering the burden of air and water pollution. That's why it's so significant that Hillary Clinton is the only presidential candidate to not just call attention to this problem, but go a step further and develop a detailed plan to address environmental injustice. Hillary's environmental justice plan says everything about why her vision for a cleaner, safer and more just world is exactly what we need in our next President.

I have watched Hillary Clinton as a public figure, as a fellow mother, and now as a grandmother. It is because of all of her roles, and the strength she has brought to them, that I see the leader California needs. Our families need a President with the proven leadership skills and the comprehensive plan to move us forward on addressing the serious economic, health, and environmental impacts of climate change. We need Hillary Clinton.