Students pledge their support for Terry McAuliffe.
The 2013 political season saw the collective eye of politics turn to the Virginia gubernatorial race, where the Sierra Club became directly involved through a variety of coalition building and grassroots initiatives.
In coalition with other progressive and green groups, the Sierra Club helped to lead the charge to victory for Terry McAuliffe. Green groups collectively spent nearly $14 million on the race, including over $200,000 on direct mailers attacking Cuccinelli’s radically conservative environmental views, and a digital microtargeting campaign complete with a microsite,TooExtremeKen.com, which attracted 50,000 unique visitors.
All of this contributed to creating the conversation on climate change that forced GOP nominee Ken Cuccinelli to reveal his ignorance on the issue. This facilitated an increase in voter turnout in Northern Virginia, which decided the election for McAuliffe.
Sierra Club members and students in the Sierra Student Coalition mobilized to knock doors, hand out leaflets, and get out the vote in this huge off-year win for environmentalists. Canvassers were also able to field-test which type of script is most effective to get a person to fill out a pledge to vote card, information which will serve us well in the upcoming midterms.
This election showed that environmental issues are still making waves in purple states, and that the battle against dirty energy and its effects on the planet will rage on until our lawmakers get the message and act.
Looking Forward to 2014
"We want our children to live in an America that isn't burdened by debt, that isn't weakened by inequality, that isn't threatened by the destructive power of a warming planet."
-- President Obama, November 6, 2012
In an election season that included record spending by special interests seeking to put profits before people, Americans chose leaders who will push for safe, sustainable, economically sound energy, keep our air and water free from pollutants, and protect our public lands from the devastation of over-mining. The Sierra Club helped make that possible.
This is a pivotal moment in the fight to stop climate change. The fossil fuel industry is on the ropes. Clean energy is on the rise. Extreme politicians and extreme weather, from the nationwide drought to Superstorm Sandy, have removed all doubt that the time for political resolve is now.
In 2013 and 2014, the Sierra Club will promote leaders who take bold action on climate and clean energy, and expose those who still choose toxic money over human health.