Like thoughtful voters everywhere, Rhode Island progressives feel like we’re fighting for our children’s and grandchildren’s futures against the selfishness and avarice of the fossil fuel industry. I’ve heard from more than one person in Rhode Island that the fossil fuel industry there is “destroying our climate and polluting our communities. We have to take them on if we're going to fight the climate crisis.” And there are candidates taking them on-- even if not all Democrats are on that team. One of the largest fossil fuel hubs in the northeast is in Rhode Island's Port of Providence. Matt Brown, who has been endorsed by Blue America for Rhode Island governor, is fighting to shut it down.
And, as you can imagine, fossil fuel money is now flooding the Rhode Island gubernatorial race— and it sure isn’t going to Matt Brown, who, in any case, has sworn off corporate contributions. Incumbent Governor Dan McKee is taking donations from lobbyists seeking to expand a fracked gas storage site. And the other corporate establishment candidate, Nellie Gorbea, held a fundraiser hosted by one of the most prominent fossil fuel lobbyists in the country. I asked Matt about that fundraiser and he told me that “the fossil fuel industry is threatening the planet. We're already seeing the forest fires, floods and extreme heat they’ve caused-- and our children will see much, much worse if we don’t act. We are literally in a fight for our lives with the fossil fuel industry. We need to fight them with everything we’ve got and shut them down-- not cozy up to them in exchange for campaign funds. No politician should accept campaign donations from the fossil fuel industry, let alone have one of their top lobbyists host a fundraiser at his lobbying firm.”
Gorbea and McKee are unapologetic about their fossil fuel support. At a recent climate forum, Matt called on Gorbea (video) and McKee (video) to return their fossil fuel contributions. They both refused. Additionally, Sunrise Providence asked Gorbea if she would return her fossil fuel contributions. After (accidentally) posing for a picture with a giant fossil fuel check, she condescendingly dismissed their demand.
Matt and Cynthia are the only candidates in their respective races who reject corporate PAC and fossil fuel money, and it is resonating with voters. Cynthia's powerful closing remarks calling out corporate influence in a recent lieutenant governor debate spread widely online.
Last night, Matt told me that “We need to pass a Green New Deal, shutting down the fossil fuel industries in the Port of Providence and rapidly building out solar and wind power to make Rhode Island the first state in the country that runs 100% on renewable energy by 2028, and net-zero emissions by 2040. As governor, I'll build tens of thousands of green, affordable homes and transform our public transportation system, creating new bus lines throughout the state, electrifying all of our buses and making them free to ride. And in the process we’ll create thousands of new good union jobs.”
Fundraising reports out this week show that he and Cynthia raised more so far this quarter than the incumbent governor and lieutenant governor. They're on a good track to defeat their fossil fuel-funded opponents and they need our help to get their message out to voters in the final three weeks before early voting starts. Please consider chipping in at the 2022 Blue America gubernatorial ActBlue page.