150 From Across Nation Attend Candidate Training

After March, Climate Activists Begin To Run

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The first ever People’s Climate Candidate Training, organized by Climate Hawks Vote and Lead Locally in Washington, D.C., drew 150 participants on Sunday, April 30, 2017, the day after the Peoples Climate March. The training was the launch of Climate Hawks Vote’s new organizing campaign to support grassroots political candidates running on a platform of bold climate action. At the end of the event, fifteen people declared their intent to run for specific offices within the next two years.

“The training was a massive success,” said Brad Johnson, executive director of Climate Hawks Vote. “Climate hawks are ready to run for office. We were able to channel the energy of the People’s Climate March in a tangible way, by showing that running for office on a climate-justice platform can build lasting political power for the climate movement. I was blown away by the diversity of the participants who share the goal of climate justice.”

“We need bold progressives to run for office who will lead on climate, and stand in stark contrast to Donald Trump’s climate denial and the fossil-fuel industry agenda. Training 150 leaders from across the country to run for office was a powerful first step,” said Whit Jones, founder of Lead Locally, a new project to support candidates running against fossil fuel infrastructure.

Participants in the training, held at the historic Thurgood Marshall Center for Service and Heritage in downtown Washington, came from all across the nation to take the first steps in running for political office as climate candidates. Attendees hailed from conservative-dominated states such as Nebraska, Alabama, and Kentucky; swing states Ohio, Florida, Virginia and Pennsylvania; traditionally environmentalist strongholds California, Maine, and Massachusetts—and more.

The day’s training was the result of a unique coalition of progressive environmental, political, and social justice organizations, sharing the mission of building a sustainable and just world through popular democratic engagement.

Johnson opened the training by honoring the people killed the night before by extreme weather in the American South—a toll that has now risen to 16 people, including three children under the age of five.

Lead Locally and #AllOfUs organized panelists who discussed how climate activists can achieve concrete victories and build lasting power through local electoral politics. The panelists, including Jacqueline Patterson, Director of the NAACP Environmental and Climate Justice Program, and Andrés Soto of Communities for a Better Environment Action, described how local political organizing can successfully defeat the fossil-fuel industry’s corruption of our political system.

Leading progressive political organizations Democracy for America (DFA), the Progressive Change Campaign Committee (PCCC), and Working Families Party provided trainers who taught practical campaign skills such as “Crafting Your Message and Stump Speech,” “Determining Your Win Goal and Writing a Field Plan,” and “Building Volunteer Capacity To Win.”

At the closing plenary, Climate Hawks Vote and Lead Locally, as well as partner organizations Our Revolution, Oil Change USA, PCCC, and DFA, offered the attendees ongoing support and training opportunities for their efforts to run and win as progressive climate candidates.

The event was sponsored by Climate Hawks Vote, Friends of the Earth Action, and Amalgamated Bank. Additional partner organizations included 350 Action, Blue America, ClimateTruth.org Action, Food & Water Action Fund, Netroots Nation, Progressive Democrats of America, United We Dream Action, and #VOTEPROCHOICE.

View photos of the event!

Paid for in part by Climate Hawks Vote Political Action. Not authorized by any candidate or candidate’s committee.



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