Easy Being Green: Candidates Embrace Clean Energy; LCV Neutral in Primary for Governor

More than 250 candidates for state Senate and House seats have embraced the Clean Energy Jobs Act, legislation to boost Maryland’s Renewable Portfolio Standard to 50 percent electricity by 2030.

The Maryland Clean Energy Jobs Initiative and CCAN Action Fund, the advocacy arm of the Chesapeake Climate Action Network, on Tuesday released the names of 253 candidates who agreed to support the measure when it is introduced in the 2019 General Assembly session.

Most of the candidates who pledged to support the legislation were Democrats; however, four Republicans, two Green Party candidates and one unaffiliated candidate also signed on.  

CCAN Action Fund Director Mike Tidwell

A similar bill was introduced in the 2018 session with dozens of sponsors but stalled in the House Economic Matters Committee. Even some supporters acknowledged that it was not likely to advance in an election year – just a year after legislation requiring a 25 percent RPS went into effect. Gov. Lawrence J. Hogan (R) – who vetoed the 25 percent legislation in 2016, only to see his veto overridden in the next session – did not make his opinion on the 2018 legislation known. All seven of the major Democratic candidates for governor have also pledged to support the Clean Energy Jobs Act.

Former Baltimore County executive Kevin B. Kamenetz (D) signed the pledge before his sudden death on May 10.

No LCV endorsement — before the primary

In a related development, the Maryland League of Conservation Voters announced Tuesday that it would not endorse a candidate for governor in the June 26 primary, labeling all the Democratic contenders solid on the organization’s priorities. “While we know some people will be disappointed that Maryland LCV is not endorsing in this primary, the environment is clearly a top priority for each one of these candidates — and that is good news for Maryland voters,” said Ed Hatcher, the organization’s board chairman.

All candidates who file for office are invited to participate in the LCV endorsement process, which includes the completion of a questionnaire responding to specific policy proposals and an interview by members of the Maryland LCV Board of Directors. Candidates asking to be considered for endorsement were Prince George’s County Executive Rushern L. Baker III, former NAACP president Benjamin T. Jealous, state Sen. Richard S. Madaleno Jr., tech entrepreneur Alec J. Ross, attorney James L. Shea, and former Obama administration official Krishanti Vignarajah.

Before his death, the late Baltimore County executive Kevin B. Kamenetz also filled out a questionnaire.

The organization noted that Gov. Lawrence J. Hogan Jr. (R) has not yet chosen to participate in the endorsement process, though he was invited to do so.

“The door remains open for Governor Hogan, and for any third-party candidates, to participate in the endorsement process for November’s general election,” said Hatcher.

Maryland LCV expects to endorse a candidate for Maryland’s Governor in the general election and will release more endorsements for the General Assembly in the coming months.

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Josh Kurtz
Co-founder and Editor Josh Kurtz is the leading chronicler of Maryland politics and government. He began covering the State House in 1995 for The Gazette newspapers, and has been writing about state and local politics ever since. He later became an editor at Roll Call, the Capitol Hill newspaper, and spent eight years at E&E News, an online subscription-only publisher of news websites covering energy and environmental issues. For seven of those years, he led a staff of 20 reporters at E&E Daily, which covers energy and environmental policy on Capitol Hill and in national politics. For 6 1/2 years he wrote a weekly column on state politics for Center Maryland and has written for several other Maryland publications as well. Kurtz has given speeches and appeared on TV and radio shows about Maryland politics through the years.

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