Washington Governor Jay Inslee, a key figure in the emerging Green Bloc of clean-energy states, visited Los Angeles this week to promote the importance of governor's races to the progressive agenda.
Prominent donors on Los Angeles' Westside are more used to writing checks for presidential and senate candidates from around the country than for governors. That has to change, Inslee insisted, because two-thirds of gubernatorial races take place in odd-numbered years, giving Republicans a major national advantage.
Governors are crucial in deciding reapportionment plans which recently have locked in gerrymandered Republican majorities in 31 states. In turn, those legislators draw the lines for Congress, which has become a solid stronghold for the ultra-right Tea Party and Libertarian blocs.
Governors like Inslee and Jerry Brown are instrumental in setting climate goals that are the basis of the emerging Green Bloc. Like California, Washington is developing a cap on carbon emissions combined with a tax that will raise $1.3 billion per year. Unlike California, the cap-and-trade revenue is for education and transportation spending, not directly for green jobs and energy. Nonetheless, the carbon-pricing model is hated by the fossil fuel industry.
The Western States Petroleum Association (WSPA), which spent $9 million last year against a fracking moratorium bill in California, is, "Strongly opposing low-carbon fuel standards in Oregon and Washington state that trace their policy roots back to California," according to a recent memo circulating among California environmentalists.
Any attempt to weaken or roll back low-carbon standards in states like California and Washington threatens national and international progress in the fight against climate change, the report concludes.