Hartford, CT – The Connecticut League of Conservation Voters (CTLCV) is thrilled with the number of victories for CTLCV-endorsed candidates throughout the state this election season. Though federal results are pending, victories at the local level clearly show that Connecticut residents care about the climate crisis and local environmental issues. 52 of CTLCV’s 65 endorsed candidates won their races.
Two of CTLCV’s endorsed challengers have ousted anti-environmental incumbents: Eleni DeGraw beat incumbent Leslee Hill in House District 17, and Jorge Cabrera was victorious in his rematch with incumbent Senator George Logan in Senate District 17.
Freshmen lawmakers elected in 2018, many of whom CTLCV supported, were in highly competitive races this year. All of them proved to be exceptional leaders on our issues at the Capitol. These top champions have prevailed and will return with even greater conviction in 2021:
● Christine Cohen - Senate District 12
● Mary Abrams - Senate District 13
● Julie Kushner - Senate District 24
● Alexandra Kasser - Senate District 36
● Will Haskell - Senate District 26
● Christine Palm - House District 17
● Maria Horn - House District 64
● Ann Hughes - House District 135
Furthermore, all of CTLCV’s long-time champions will be returning to lead the way on issues ranging from pesticides and PFAS, to clean energy and climate change. Senators Gary Winfield and Tony Hwang, and Representatives Geraldo Reyes, Jonathan Steinberg, and Mike Demicco are all committed to advancing progressive and equitable solutions to our state's most pressing environmental concerns.
CTLCV’s candidates all had strong environmental platforms and reflect the growing concern among Connecticut residents about the climate crisis and environmental threats, and the urgent need to address these challenges. These victories are a reminder of the importance of local elections as vectors for systemic change. These environmental leaders will bring their enthusiasm and energy to the Connecticut General Assembly to press for creative solutions to problems that plague our state and nation.
“Just a few years ago, climate change was a marginal topic in political campaigns. This year, it was a significant topic in many local debates,” said CTLCV Executive Director Lori Brown. “It is inspiring to see how many candidates were well-versed in climate change science and a broad array of complex environmental concerns. These victories show that Connecticut residents understand how important these issues are to our lives, our economy, and our future.”
CTLCV worked hard in 2018 to get pro-environment candidates elected and worked closely with them to advance clean energy and climate mitigation priorities - many of which had been blocked by anti-environment legislators in prior years. In their first term, ALL of these freshmen champions were fearless in pushing environmental protections forward, and are determined to address climate change in significant ways in 2021.
Each of the 52 endorsed winners this year support transitioning Connecticut to a 100% cleaner electric grid, modernizing the state’s recycling programs, and banning toxic PFAS from polluting our water. Their responses to CTLCV’s environmental survey are posted on CTLCV’s elections page.
“When pro-environment legislators are elected, they represent the values of their constituents,” said Brown, “As the legislative session begins in 2021, voters can have confidence that climate change and the environment will be mainstream issues.”
In addition to researching, interviewing and endorsing candidates, CTLCV’s Independent Expenditure PAC supported these candidates through direct mailers sent to more than 50,000 households in key races. CTLCV also invested in paid digital ads which were seen more than three million times.
These efforts contributed to the numerous victories for the environment with more than 80% of CTLCV-endorsed candidates winning their races. CTLCV endorsed more candidates in the 2020 election - almost double - than in any previous year. The rise of endorsements is indicative of the number of candidates who stepped up to run on pro-environment platforms.
CTLCV endorsed many more challengers this election cycle, including Baird Welch-Collins (HD 38), Bryan Anderson (HD 119), Kate Donnely (HD 47), Cate Steel (HD 37) and Paul Honig (HD 76), who all sought to unseat anti-environment entrenched incumbents with abysmal voting records. CTLCV applauds these candidates who helped highlight environmental positions during the campaign and will continue to spotlight climate change deniers at the state legislature.
CTLCV’s educational arm (CTLCV Education Fund) conducted a separate non-partisan effort for voter awareness and education that targeted historically underrepresented black and Hispanic communities in Middletown, Waterbury, and Hartford.
CTLCV Education Fund prioritized voter education through direct mailings, digital ads, and volunteer phonebanks in partnership with NAACP’s Youth and College Division. The ads and mailings reached tens of thousands of residents, and the phonebanks resulted in conversations with thousands of first-time voters. More than 675,000 Connecticut residents voted by Absentee Ballot in the 2020 Election, and CTLCV will work with its partners to make sure the expansion becomes permanent.
“2020 has been a landmark year in understanding how environmental justice and social justice are one in the same,” said Brown. “Voting is an essential component to our democracy; every voter must be able to vote safely. Voter intimidation and misinformation have no place in a healthy democracy, and CTLCV remains committed to supporting all voters to exercise their right to vote.”
A complete list of CTLCV-endorsed victories is available on our Victories page. A complete list of CTLCV-endorsed candidates, direct mailers, and digital ad campaigns can be viewed on CTLCV's website, and CTLCV’s voter education materials can be viewed on CTLCV Education Fund’s website.
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