Sarah Spence, Director of Climate Programs, October 18, 2017
Last week, Clean Energy Attorney Miranda Leppla and I traveled to Washington D.C. and found ourselves in what some may consider a bizarre situation. We were sitting in a room with more than 300 young professional conservatives from across the country. The subject of our meeting: clean energy.
Polarizing political rhetoric has proliferated environmentalism in recent years, but energy and the environment, in essence, are not partisan issues. Still, as a young conservative who cares deeply about our environment, I face misconceptions about my beliefs almost daily.
Needless to say, it was refreshing to be in a room full of individuals who understand first-hand that conservatism and the environment can go hand-in-hand.
It was also refreshing to listen to amazing lineup of speakers and explore the innovation showcase at the Conservative Clean Energy Summit in Washington, D.C., which The Christian Coalition, Young Conservatives for Energy Reform (YC4ER), Defend Our Future, the American Wind Energy Association and the Solar Energy Industries Association co-hosted.
U.S. Senator Mike Rounds (R-SD), U.S. Congressman Scott Taylor (R-VA) and Ohio’s own U.S. Senator Rob Portman (R-OH) all spoke about the importance of clean energy and energy efficiency for our economy. Michigan RNC Committeewoman Kathy Berden shared what it has been like for her and her husband to live off the grid for the last 17 years, thanks to their energy-efficient, solar-powered home.
I was even more excited to hear from the panel of millennial leaders – Jason Emert, Chair of the Young Republican National Federation; Chandler Thornton, Chair of the National College Republican Federation; and E.J. Wilder, YC4ER North Carolina Chair – who spoke in-depth about removing the red tape that hinders clean energy technologies and expanding energy freedom for individuals to produce, own, and control their own power.
I left the summit inspired. Events like these stand as a testament that we can find common ground on environmental issues and work together to make Ohio and our nation a leader in clean energy.