Let’s Get Partisan: A Surfer’s Guide To Election Day
11 candidates with (possibly) your best interests in mind.
Tired of all the talk about the San Onofre nuke plant rotting on the beach without anything being done? Vote.
Tired of red tides and green algae killing the waterways in Florida? Vote.
Tired of threats of oil drilling, over fishing, limited coastal access, or any number of other dirty deeds politicians are perpetrating on our ocean environment? Vote.
It goes without saying, the U.S. elections on Nov. 6 (tomorrow) are critical for the health of our oceans. Companies like Patagonia and Sustainable Surf are addressing the issues from a business standpoint, while The Surfrider Foundation, Save The Waves and other environmentally minded organizations help raise awareness and educate the public. Meanwhile, Ocean Champions is a 501(c)(4) nonprofit organization who’s stated goal is to “build the political power necessary to ensure thriving oceans and coasts.” It’s the only surf-related nonprofit that’s deep in the political trenches in Washington D.C.
“The biggest battlegrounds this year would be California, Florida and Texas,” said Vipe Desai, who sits on the group’s Board of Directors and is a longtime figure in the surf industry.
Since 2004, Ocean Champions has spent over $1.6 million on elections, resulting in 71 congressmen and women currently in office. When it comes to generating political horsepower, pushing for change at the federal level and establishing both short-term and long-term policy objectives, this is what protecting our oceans is like. And your vote is a critical part of the master plan.
So, who do you vote for? Ocean Champions has endorsed most of the following candidates, and we think they’re worthy of your attention. Do your research, dive into their voting records, figure out who tickles your fancy, just whatever you do, get out there and vote on Nov. 6.
Candidate Harley Rouda
Rouda is looking to unseat incumbent Dana Rohrabacher, who’s positioned himself as the “surfing politician,” but look at his voting record and it’s clear the dude’s a kook. He’s also in tight with the Russians. On the other hand, Rouda is running on further protecting the California coastal environment and halting offshore oil drilling.
Candidate Mike Levin
Levin isn’t endorsed by Ocean Champions at this point, but running against Rep. Darrell Issa, he’s made addressing the San Onofre nuclear plant situation a priority in his campaign. Well positioned to take out Issa, Levin has amassed more money than any other challenger running against an incumbent in California.
Candidate Katie Porter
Running in Orange County against vulnerable incumbent Mimi Walters, Porter is campaigning on taking on big oil and the corporate polluters to stop offshore drilling and will fight to invest in renewable energy development, support high emission standards and save important environmental protections.
Senator Bill Nelson
Serving in the U.S. Senate since 2000, Nelson has a strong track record on ocean conservation issues. He’s sponsored numerous bills in favor of protecting Florida’s coast, including legislation that addresses the algae blooms that are devastating the state’s waterways.
Rep. Vern Buchanan
One of the few Republicans on this list, Buchanan views the red tide as a “clear and visible threat to the Suncoast’s environment and economy.”
Sen. Mazie Hirono
Up for reelection this year, Hirono is an advocate for the local fishing industry and alternative green energy sources, including ocean energy, biofuels and wind. “For hundreds of years, Native Hawaiians relied upon the Pacific Ocean to develop a sustainable way of life. Unfortunately, Hawaii has strayed from this wise use of our ocean resources, and we have become too dependent on other countries and the mainland for our food and our energy,” said Hirono in her statement for Ocean Champions.
Sen. Angus King
Sitting on the Energy and Natural Resources committee, King’s is an Independent that co-sponsored the Waterfront Community Revitalization and Resiliency Act to help coastal communities modernize outdated infrastructure and develop strategies to deal with climate change. “We have the planet on loan,” King told Ocean Champions. “We have an obligation to return it to future generations in a better condition than we found it.”
Rep. Chellie Pingree
A four-term representative in the House of Congress, Pingree sits on the Oceans Caucus, as well as the Sustainable Energy and Environment Coalition Caucus.
Candidate Beto O’Rourke
Another one that’s not on the Ocean Champions list, O’Rourke is looking to flip the script on Senator Ted Cruz in a heated race down in the Lone Star State. With over 300 miles of coastline bordering the Gulf of Mexico, miles of pipelines and thousands of oil rigs, there’s a lot at stake in Texas. Willie Nelson’s got his back. Who else is in?
Representative Don Beyer
Beyer appears to understand the issues surrounding climate change. He also advocates for ocean and coastal health.
Senator Maria Cantwell
A three-term senator for the state of Washington, Cantwell sits on both the Commerce, Science and Transportation committee and the Energy and Natural Resources committee, both of which play a role in determining ocean-related policy decisions. “Millions of people rely on the outdoors for their livelihoods, so we must stop offshore drilling and preserve the pristine nature of our coastlines,” Cantwell told Ocean Champions.
To find out more, OceanChampions.org has a great interactive map on their website that allows you to search state by state for all the ocean-friendly candidates. They’ve included voting records, statements and more information.
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