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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Sierra Club endorses Crist and Meek, and Meek says no thanks



Because Democrats aren't conflicted enough over Kendrick Meek and Charlie Crist ... the Sierra Club said today it is endorsing both of them. (News release below.)

UPDATE: Meek says no thanks. Implies group has no backbone to back a candidate who once espoused "drill, baby, drill" and signed legislation, SB 360, that environmental groups said would cause more sprawl. Said Meek, "This election is about taking a stand and fighting for principles you believe in. Today's Sierra Club co-endorsement is an insult to Florida's environmental community."

The Sierra Club announced its endorsement today of both Florida Gov. Charlie Crist and U.S. Rep. Kendrick Meek in the 2010 Florida U.S. Senate race. The announcement comes after a detailed endorsement process, including questionnaires and interviews with the candidates and careful review of the candidates’ records on environmental issues.

“The Sierra Club’s number one priority is ensuring a clean energy economy to create jobs and solve the climate crisis,” said Frank Jackalone, Florida Staff Director for the Sierra Club. “With Crist and Meek we can count on two serious and accomplished candidates for the U.S. Senate who understand the urgency of environmental protection and the policies needed to accomplish that goal.”

The Sierra Club endorsement of Charlie Crist serves to highlight Gov. Crist’s advancement of important issues like clean, renewable energy and conservation, as well as his understanding of the urgency of climate disruption. Gov. Crist worked to cut Florida’s global warming pollution by fighting dirty coal plants and urging Florida utilities to use renewable energy sources.  He has also come out against offshore oil drilling in the wake of the BP Gulf disaster.  Crist has demonstrated his commitment to the environment through his service as governor of Florida, advancing a strong environmental agenda that included land acquisition and preservation in the Everglades Agricultural Area.

Kendrick Meek, in addition to his 100 percent League of Conservation Voters environmental record in his last session as U.S. Rep. for Florida’s 17th District, has shown his clear understanding and commitment to conservation and environmental issues. Rep. Meek opposes offshore drilling in Florida and has promoted investment in alternative energy by introducing a biomass tax parity bill and a renewable energy tax bill in Congress.  He has also voiced his commitment to Everglades restoration.  The Sierra Club welcomes Rep. Meek’s strong leadership on environmental issues and his work to fight global warming.

“Our goal is to distinguish these two candidates as worthy of support from voters who care about the environment, based upon their environmental positions, priorities, and vision,” said Sierra Club volunteer and Political Committee Chair for Florida Cecilia Height.

With 30,000 members statewide, and as a trusted messenger to the broader public, the support of Sierra Club Florida plays a decisive role in state and local elections.

“The Sierra Club rarely makes dual endorsements, but in this case it was particularly appropriate. Florida, the public at large, and Sierra Club members who want to see environmental leaders in Washington will all be well served by either Charlie Crist or Kendrick Meek as their representative in the U.S. Senate,” said Cathy Duvall, National Political Director of the Sierra Club.

The Sierra Club also assessed the candidacy of former State Speaker Marco Rubio, despite his failure to fill out a written questionnaire.  Through his interactions with the media, it is clear that Rubio questions the science of climate disruption, supports offshore oil drilling, and is linked to the extremist Tea Party movement.  Rubio has also said that he is against holding polluters like BP fully accountable for their disasters, and has voiced his desire to handcuff the Environmental Protection Agency against cleaning up our air and water.  During a Wednesday night debate, Rubio came out against funding for high speed rail in Florida, a project supported by Crist and Meek, and to which federal funds have already been committed to create more than 20,000 clean energy jobs.  In short, a vote for Rubio would be a vote against the environment and new job creation in Florida.

[Last modified: Wednesday, October 13, 2010 5:44am]


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