Our Political & Legislative Mobilization team received and evaluated questionnaire responses from four Democrats in the race: Geena Pham, Hillary Levey Friedman, Bret Jacob, and Sam Zurier. We then interviewed all four. Levey Friedman, Jacob, and Zurier all offer excellent experience and pro-environment values. However, Geena Pham stands out for her strong focus on climate action: particularly, eliminating greenhouse gas emissions and ensuring climate justice to protect those at greatest risk. When asked by the Providence Journal what her top issue was, she replied:
“The climate crisis. Rhode Island faces extreme threats from sea level rise, flooding, and hurricanes. In addition, residents of RI — particularly those who live near the Port of Providence — are forced to drink polluted water and breathe toxic air. We need a statewide Green New Deal.”
Similarly, in her letter introducing her campaign, Pham, a public high school teacher, wrote:
“Every person deserves a safe and fulfilling life, but each day I watch my students grapple with the uncertainty and danger in their future. I see their bodies freeze with anxiety when we discuss climate change, environmental destruction, and sea level rise. I notice the fear in their eyes when they ask me why the people in charge are allowing this to happen. It’s a question I’ve asked myself time and time again. Why aren’t our politicians acting faster and more boldly to address the climate crisis?”
Pham’s focus and urgency are what we believe every elected official and candidate should be expressing after a summer in which nearly one in three Americans experienced a climate change-fueled weather disaster, and the IPCC report (“Code Red for Humanity”) revealed how far off track we are from safeguarding the stable climate system on which our lives depend.
There’s another important reason to support Pham, which has to do with how our General Assembly works.
At the State House this year, while Act On Climate thankfully passed into law, eight other key bills endorsed by CARI were not even brought to the House and Senate floors for a vote. Any East Side Senator would likely vote for these bills if given the chance—but they never get the chance because the Assembly’s conservative leaders don’t allow the votes to happen. To change this state of affairs, a robust challenge to leadership is necessary. Senator Gayle Goldin rose to that challenge. In the campaign to succeed her, only Geena Pham has committed to follow in her footsteps.
— Currie, David, Gillian, Jeff, Justin, Peter, Sasha, and the CARI Leadership Team
To help Geena’s campaign: