Sierra Club and Victory Fund release joint statement criticizing Florida Rep. Kathleen Peters

Mosaic Sinkhole

Today Sierra Club and Victory Fund released a joint statement criticizing Florida state Representative Kathleen Peters for her hypocritical response to an environmental disaster in Florida, which has spilled hundreds of millions of gallons of toxic water into the Floridan aquifer. Peters, who is running against Victory Fund and Sierra Club endorsed candidate Jennifer Webb, is calling for "transparency" after the disaster, in the form of legislation to require the public be notified of an environmental disaster within 24 hours. While notifying the public is important, the statement is critical of her call for transparency given her voting record favoring big fracking companies, and making it more difficult for the public to learn about the toxic chemicals they use. A notification period also does nothing to prevent future disasters like Mosaic.

Read the entire joint statement:

 

  

STATEMENT FROM SIERRA CLUB AND GAY & LESBIAN VICTORY FUND

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Thursday, September 29, 2016

Hypocrisy Alert:

Kathleen Peters Calls for Band-Aid Environmental Transparency, But Shields Polluters from Accountability

Mosaic, Oil and Gas Fracking Companies Among Kathleen’s Biggest Contributors

Earlier this week, State Rep Kathleen Peters said she’ll sponsor legislation to require public notification of contamination to our environment within 24 hours.  Her announcement was triggered by the discovery that Mosaic’s phosphate pit was spewing hundreds of millions of gallons of radioactive water into the Floridan aquifer, a water source for 10 million people, including Pinellas county and the city of St. Pete. The company waited three weeks before telling anyone.

Now, Kathleen Peters is calling for transparency after an environmental disaster – but she’s voted repeatedly to allow unfettered fracking in Florida – an oil and gas extraction process that can cause sinkholes like the Mosaic disaster and earthquakes. Florida’s fragile, shallow limestone subsurface is uniquely vulnerable to sinkhole disasters like mosaic. 

Earlier this year, Peters voted for HB 191, allowing fracking in Florida, and making it illegal for local communities to ban fracking. She also voted for a measure that would have effectively shielded fracking companies by making it difficult for the public to learn about the toxic chemicals used in the fracking process.  She joined with other fracking industry legislators when she voted against several efforts that would have required additional environmental and public health protections that would have forced the fracking industry to study and disclose the impact of fracking chemicals on prenatal health and that would have prevented fracking companies from using carcinogenic chemicals.

Pinellas county is one of the many Florida counties that have banned fracking. Yet Peters voted to allow it anyway, and to ignore the will of the voters by passing a state law that pre-empts their ability to ban fracking.

“Let’s be clear: Kathleen Peters is calling for band-aid transparency, but not accountability,” said David Harbeitner, Political Chair of Sierra Club Suncoast Group. “Her position is essentially that she’s ok with fracking and the inevitably catastrophic environmental damage it can cause as long as the offending companies tell consumers within 24 hours about it afterwards.”

Peters has a cozy relationship with the polluters at the center of the Mosaic disaster and the oil and gas fracking industry. She has directly taken at least $500 from Mosaic’s political committee, the Florida Phosphate Committee. However, her Political Committee, Florida Speaks has taken $25,000 from other political committees directly supported by large contributions from Mosaic and thousands of dollars from the oil and gas industry.

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Sierra Club

The Sierra Club is the nation's largest and most influential grassroots environmental organization.  To learn more about the Suncoast group of the Sierra Club, visit suncoastsierra.org.

Gay & Lesbian Victory Fund

The Gay & Lesbian Victory Fund works to change the face and voice of America’s politics and achieve equality for LGBT Americans by increasing the number of openly LGBT elected officials at all levels of government. To learn more about Victory Fund, visit victoryfund.org.

LGBT officials in California lead charge to cut ties with anti-LGBT states

Above: Assembly Member Evan Low (left) and Supervisor Scott Wiener 

Two separate measures introduced by a California Assembly member and a San Francisco supervisor restricting the use of government dollars to pay for discrimination advanced Tuesday.

AB 1887 prohibits the use of state money to pay for travel to states that don’t allow local governments to protect LGBT people from discrimination. Introduced by openly gay Assembly Member Evan Low, a Victory Fund candidate, the bill was signed into law by Gov. Jerry Brown on Tuesday.

From ThinkProgress:

AB 1887 doesn’t target any specific state, but lays out in detail whether a state will be impacted. Travel is forbidden to any state that has passed a law that explicitly discriminates against LGBT people, or that has passed a law voiding or repealing state or local protections for LGBT people. It requires the Attorney General to maintain a list of the states that would qualify.

Currently, the law would impact at least three states. The most obvious is North Carolina, because HB2 both voids local LGBT protections and mandates discrimination against transgender people when it comes to what facilities they can use. Also guaranteed to be on the list, however, would be Tennessee and Arkansas, two other states that have “preemption” laws prohibiting municipalities from extending nondiscrimination protections beyond what’s available at the state level, thus voiding any city or county ordinances protecting sexual orientation and gender identity.

In San Francisco Tuesday, openly gay Supervisor – and state senate candidate – Scott Wiener’s legislation to bar the city from doing business with states that don’t allow LGBT protections passed the Board of Supervisors unanimously.

Board of Supervisors just passed my legislation making SF 1st city in country to ban contracting with states that pass anti-#LGBT hate laws.

— Scott Wiener (@Scott_Wiener) September 27, 2016

“I’m proud that our city is stepping out and being a leader in this fight,” said Wiener in a statement. “I hope other jurisdictions follow suit and send a clear message that these laws have no place in our country.”

Both measures are the first of their kind, though many governors and mayors have issued executive orders to the same effect.

Despite California’s liberal reputation, progress for the LGBT community has been hard-fought and relatively recent. The documentary Political Animals recounts the difficulties faced by the first four LGBT legislators in the state – all Victory candidates – when fighting for LGBT equality. 

LCV to invest $1 million in defeating Jason Lewis and other climate change deniers

Angie Craig

The League of Conservation Voters Victory Fund (LCV) will spend $1 million to defeat two congressmen with terrible records on environmental issues. The effort will target, Jason “Mini-Trump” Lewis,  the opponent of Victory-endorsed candidate Angie Craig. Jason Lewis has a long record of ignoring facts, science and evidence and peddling outlandishly false claims on climate change.  The race remains close less than two months before the election.

While Angie vows to address climate change and create renewable energy jobs, Lewis claims one “nasty winter” is evidence climate change is not real, and is critical of plans to move toward renewable energy. But his ignorance extends well-beyond climate change. Lewis has called young women “non-thinking” because of their support for abortion and marriage equality, said trans students using bathrooms is an “abomination,” and implied slavery should be legal and that he would be fine with it.

"Lewis is the spitting image of a 'mini-Trump', and makes the same sorts of outlandish claims,” said LCV’s Clay Schroers. “We're ready to bring the fight against climate science denial and Big Polluters allies to the House, and are committed to defeating these two candidates.”

View a list frightening statements by Jason “Mini-Trump” Lewis.

Contribute to Angie’s campaign >>

Latest poll shows huge increase in support for U.S. Senate candidate Jim Gray

Jim Gray

A new poll shows Victory-endorsed U.S. Senate candidate Jim gray gaining significant ground in his race against Senator Rand Paul –further indication this is the sleeper race of the 2016 election cycle. A Babbage Cofounder Pulse Poll found Jim just seven points behind Paul, a tremendous 12 point gain since an early August poll showed Jim 19 points behind. Significantly, 42 percent of Kentucky voters remain undecided despite Paul’s strong name recognition, and these voters are gravitating toward Jim’s problem-solving Kentucky-focused message.

Meanwhile, Paul continues to hide from Kentucky voters. Jim has called on Paul to “come out of the closet” and participate in a debate on the issues important to Kentuckians – which he has so far refused to do. Paul knows Jim is better on the issues voters care about, and that his substantive policy solutions resonate. Paul’s weak support in the poll demonstrates that voters have soured on Paul’s failed Senate term. They’ll remember Paul didn’t do his job while he spent months campaigning across the country on a spectacularly failed bid for the presidency. It’s time for new leadership. Gray’s appeal has been pitch perfect for Kentucky voters and we look forward to calling him the next U.S. Senator from Kentucky.

Contribute to Jim’s campaign >> 

Jane Campbell's opponent blames others for his role in passing HB2

Jane Campbell

Above: John Bradford (left) and Victory-endorsed candidate Jane Campbell.

Despite sponsoring and voting for the disastrous HB2 that damaged North Carolina’s reputation and economy, state Representative John Bradford is now blaming others for the bill’s passage. On Saturday, Bradford shared a Facebook post claiming Charlotte Mayor Jennifer Roberts was “hell-bent” on passing a non-discrimination law, and that her effort to protect LGBT people forced him and his state legislative colleagues to strip those protections by passing HB2. His finger pointing revealed his delusion over the reasons for the national backlash, and his leadership role in the debacle.

On Friday, Bradford continued to play politics with LGBT lives by saying he would support HB2’s repeal, but only if Charlotte first repeals its protections for LGBT people. His statement came after the NCAA and ACC announced it would move its championship games outside the state. But a repeal of both laws would keep discrimination against LGBT people legal, and Equality North Carolina denounced any moves to repeal Charlotte’s law, noting it’s HB2 that is prompting sports teams and companies to leave the state.

While Bradford points fingers and denies culpability, his Victory-endorsed challenger Jane Campbell is discussing issues that matter to North Carolinians – increasing education funding and ending unfair highway tolls. Bradford’s support for HB2 is her inspiration for running – and she would work tirelessly to repeal HB2 as the only openly LGBT person in the state legislature. A 25-year Navy veteran who served in Afghanistan, she is ready to take the fight to Bradford and remind voters of his critical role in harming the state’s economy. 

On Tuesday, Jane released the following statement:

“John Bradford drafted, sponsored and voted for HB2. His recent statement in support of repeal, on the condition that Charlotte legalizes discrimination against LGBT residents, is a dishonest tactic to avoid blame for his legislative incompetence and poor judgment. Bradford needs no action from Charlotte to repeal HB2. It has been a catastrophe for the economy, has cost us hundreds of millions of dollars, tens of thousands of jobs, and tarnished the reputation of our great state.

But HB2 is just one of several disasters Bradford has championed. He was also a cheerleader for the I-77 toll contract before it was signed, and subsequently decided it was a bad idea without admitting his mistake. District 98 deserves a new and honest leader who will put North Carolina’s economy and families first. I will be that leader.”

Similarly, Victory Fund and Equality North Carolina jointly released a statement criticizing Bradford. 

Contribute to Jane’s campaign >>

An "outpouring of affection" in Atlanta for BeltLine project Cathy Woolard champions

Cathy Woolard

Above: Cathy Woolard (center) on the BeltLine.

An “outpouring of affection” among Atlantans for its internationally-recognized BeltLine project will boost Victory-endorsed mayoral candidate Cathy Woolard, who had the vision and courage to be its first champion while President of the Atlanta City Council. Cathy proved herself a leader in urban renewal as she spent years organizing support and securing funding for the project – holding more than 90 community meetings across Atlanta to get resident feedback and suggestions. 

Cathy’s commitment pushed the ambitious project forward, and now residents and even once skeptical politicians support the revitalization effort, which converts old railroad lines circling Atlanta into mixed-use trails lined by pocket parks, public art and other places for civic engagement. Cathy became the BeltLine’s chief advocate knowing it would lead to new jobs, more affordable housing, healthier residents and a more prosperous city, and residents are already seeing those benefits.

But there are still challenges facing the project before its completion in 2030, and some missteps have been made. If elected mayor in 2017, Cathy has vowed to ensure the transformational BeltLine meets the high expectations of Atlantans. 

“It’s the most important rail-transit project that’s been proposed in the country, possibly in the world,” said Christopher B. Leinberger of the George Washington University School of Business to The New York Times. And without Cathy’s efforts, it may never have become a reality.

Contribute to Cathy's campaign>>

Angie Craig opponent uses family photo to attack her wife and kids

Facebook Post

Above: A Facebook post by GOP Communications Chair Vickie Froehlich attacking Angie Craig's family. 

On Friday, a local GOP Communications Chair raising funds on behalf of Minnesota Congressional candidate Jason Lewis used a family photo to attack the wife and kids of Victory-endorsed candidate Angie Craig.

In a Facebook post promoting an upcoming Lewis fundraiser, Vickie Froehlich showed a photo of Angie, her wife and four teenage sons playing Scrabble around their dining table, and said:

“In case you're wondering - the family photo page is the families of our candidates and then of Jason Lewis' opponent - Angie Craig. She's liberal and this is her family. She and her female marriage partner and their 4 teenage sons. Support Jason, give to Jason and work for Jason!!!”

Jason Lewis has not denounced this attack, and an apology is unlikely. Like Donald Trump, there’s no group of Americans “Mini-Trump” Jason Lewis has not insulted. He has called young women “non-thinking,” saying they only care about abortion and gay marriage, suggested immigrants are destroying white culture, and implied that slavery might not only be legal, but would be just fine with him.

Jason Lewis is nicknamed “Mini-Trump” for a reason, and his attacks will affect all LGBT Americans if he reaches the U.S. Congress. We need to elect Angie in November.

Read a list (with GIFs) of 10 terrible Jason Lewis quotes.

Contribute to Angie’s campaign >>

 

Victory candidate exposes voter database flaw in Washington state

Tina Podlodowski

Washington voters’ personal data – including cell numbers and email addresses – was easily accessible via the state’s voter registration until Victory-endorsed candidate Tina Podlodowski identified the issue and informed officials Wednesday. Access to the data was quickly shutoff after Tina explained the problem in a letter to her opponent Secretary of State Kim Wyman, yet the data had been vulnerable since 2012, raising serious questions about Wyman’s competence. 

"The breach was real and hopefully fixed," Tina said.  "However, (Wyman) should submit to a full cyber audit done by the cyber security officer (which is outside the secretary of state's office) and not just rely on her own people.”

Tina has criticized Wyman for declining voter turnout, and her failure to identify an issue that may have led to a significant data breach could further erode turnout among Washingtonians concerned about their personal information being compromised when registering to vote. Tina has made increasing voter turnout and streamlining access to the ballot box the central issues of her campaign, while her opponent has failed to support efforts to make the voter registration process easier.

In a letter thanking Tina, the state’s chief information security officer said: “Thank you again for following the industry standard for responsible disclosure of a potential cyber security issue and helping keep the citizens data safe.”

Contribute to Tina's campaign >>

North Carolina Governor releases second ad targeting transgender people

Gov. Pat McCrory

Above: A scene from North Carolina Governor Pat McCrory's ad. 

In his latest attack on the transgender community, North Carolina Governor Pat McCrory released a television ad titled “Common Sense.” In it he says allowing transgender people to use the bathrooms of their gender identity is dangerous, and claims LGBT advocates believe political correctness supersedes the safety of children. After the video’s release, Governor McCrory doubled-down by tweeting: “Retweet if you agree political correctness shouldn’t outweigh our children’s privacy and safety.”

While McCrory’s bigoted remarks are a desperate bid for attention as his gubernatorial opponent Roy Cooper leads in the polls, it remains critical that an LGBT voice is added to the state’s legislature next year. Victory-endorsed candidate Jane Campbell announced her candidacy for the North Carolina State House when her now opponent in the race sponsored and voted for the discriminatory HB2 bill McCrory signed. Since then her promise to overturn HB2, increase education funding and end unfair highway tolls has resonated with voters.

Meanwhile a Raleigh News & Observer editorial emphasizes his bigoted ad does not resonate: “the gov­ernor’s latest pathet­ic at­tempt to de­ceive the pub­lic on the mer­its of the cata­stroph­ic HB2 law won’t fool any­body. … The gov­ernor’s rhet­or­ic is mis­guided on many levels. … So maybe the ques­tion here isn’t the one Mc­Crory asks, ‘Are we really talk­ing about this?’ but rather ‘Why is the gov­ernor really talk­ing about this?’”

Jane is talking about issues that truly matter, and it is crucial she succeeds in November so true “common sense” prevails.

Contribute to Jane’s campaign >>

Victory candidates win primaries in Massachusetts

Victory-endorsed candidates in Massachusetts did extremely well last night, with four of our five candidates winning their primaries and now heading to the general election. Results are below:

  • Eileen Duff won her primary for Massachusetts Governor's Council, Dist. 5, Gloucester, with 100% of the vote; 
  • Julian Cyr won his primary for Massachusetts State Senate, Cape & Islands District, Truro, with 54% (9,262 votes) of the vote;
  • Stan Rosenberg won his primary for Massachusetts State Senate, Hampshire/Franklin/Worcester District, Amherst, with 100% of the vote; and
  • Jack Lewis won his primary for Massachusetts State House, Dist. 7, Framingham, MA with 37% (824) of the vote! 

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