Sierra Club Endorsements
This is a reminder that the General Election is on Tuesday, November 8th! The Sierra Club Long Island Group is proud to endorse many environmental leaders in this upcoming election.
The Sierra Club's grassroots volunteer activists considered candidates' records, reviewed responses to our questionnaire, and interviewed those willing to meet with us. Our list of those we have endorsed in Long Island races is below. If you'd like to get involved in one of the races in your area, reach out to the campaign today! Contacts for each campaign can be found here.
SIERRA CLUB LONG ISLAND CANDIDATES RECOMMENDED FOR ENDORSEMENT
US Congress NY Dist. 3 – Robert Zimmerman (Dem.): Zimmerman is a principal in a successful company that provides public relations, marketing, and advertising services, which counts many government entities as clients. He has been active in New York and national politics for many years and has worked for and advised a number of members of Congress, received several Presidential appointments, and been a longstanding member of the Democratic National Committee. New York’s 3rd Congressional District has extensive frontage on Long Island Sound and Zimmerman states that, in Congress, he will work to secure federal infrastructure and other funds to protect Long Island’s vulnerable coastal communities from the impacts of climate change and protect and improve the water quality of the Sound, which provides enormous commercial and recreational benefits to Long Island. He supports major investments in mass transit and will also work to significantly upgrade Long Island’s rail freight system to alleviate truck-related road congestion and pollution. He supports a rapid transition to the use of clean, renewable energy for public utilities, buildings, and transportation to address climate change and produce secure, well-paying jobs in the region’s “green economy.” He is also a strong advocate of environmental justice for marginalized and disadvantaged communities.
US Congress NY Dist. 4 – Laura Gillen (Dem.): Gillen is an attorney with extensive litigation experience and a former Supervisor of the Town of Hempstead, the largest township in the United States. During her tenure as Hempstead Supervisor, Gillen undertook a number of environmental initiatives. She oversaw the restoration of the Town’s water testing facility, which was badly damaged during Superstorm Sandy; she had the Town commence litigation against several large companies that produce products containing toxic “forever chemicals,” such as 1,4 dioxane and PFOS, to recoup the expenses related to the installation of filtration systems to remove these chemicals from Town’s water supply; and she significantly expanded the Town’s shellfish hatchery which allowed large numbers of oysters and clams to be added to the Town’s waterways in order to increase coastal resiliency and filter pollutants. Gillen states that in Congress she will work to hasten the nation’s transition to a clean energy economy and bring federal investments in renewable energy infrastructure, climate resiliency, mass transit and protection of water resources to Long Island.
NY Senate Dist. 5 – John Brooks (Dem.): Brooks was elected to the Senate in 2016. During the current Senate term, Brooks has sponsored or co-sponsored important environmental legislation, including bills to create a comprehensive program to manage and mitigate marine and coastal debris, to create a training program for salt applicators to help minimize the negative impacts of road salt on human health and the environment, to preserve wildlife and open space in the Adirondack Park and minimize the environmental impacts of property subdivisions in the Park, and to impose a permanent statutory ban on horizontal drilling, high-volume hydraulic fracturing and gelled propane hydraulic fracturing in the State. For 2021, Brooks has 100% environmental scorecards from both the League of Conservation Voters and Environmental Advocates.
NY Senate Dist. 6 – Kevin Thomas (Dem): Thomas was elected to the Senate in 2018. During this term he supported a number of significant environmental initiatives, including the Clean Water, Clean Air and Green Jobs Bond Act and an extension of the Clean Heating Fuel Tax Credit. He also supported robust State funding for clean water infrastructure, public transportation, offshore wind projects, and improvements to State parks and other open space and recreation facilities. He has been particularly focused on protecting the ground water resources in his district and throughout Long Island from nitrates, industrial pollution, and other contaminants. For 2021, Thomas has 100% environmental scorecards from both the League of Conservation Voters and Environmental Advocates.
NY Senate Dist. 7 – Anna Kaplan (Dem.): Kaplan was elected to the Senate in 2018. During this term, she supported a number of important environmental initiatives, including bills to reduce carbon emissions, expand electric vehicle usage, authorize the NY Power Authority to build and operate renewable energy projects, and require paper and packaging producers to take financial responsibility for the recycling of their products. She has also supported bills to protect over one million acres of wetlands statewide and conserve 30 percent of New York’s land by 2030. For 2021, Kaplan has 100% environmental scorecards from both the League of Conservation Voters and Environmental Advocates.
NY Assembly Dist. 13 – Charles Lavine (Dem.): Lavine has served in the Assembly since 2005 and, during his tenure, has been a strong supporter of the environment. In the current term, he voted in favor of bills that require paper and packaging producers to assume financial responsibility for the recycling of their products, place a moratorium on certain energy-intensive cryptocurrency mining operations, and ban the use of PFAS, a dangerous “forever chemical,” in clothing. He also voted for legislation to protect over one million acres of wetlands statewide and to require that State agencies set a goal of conserving 30% of the State’s land by 2030. Lavine has 100% environmental scorecards from Environmental Advocates for both 2021 and 2022 as well as a 100% scorecard from the League of Conservation Voters for 2021.
NY Assembly Dist. 16 – Gina Sillitti (Dem.): Sillitti was elected to the Assembly in 2020 after holding a number of non-elective positions in Nassau County government. In her first term she established a strong environmental record, with an emphasis on protecting Long Island's surface and sub-surface water resources. In this year's State budget, she secured a $5 million grant to the Great Neck Water Pollution Control District for the installation of a sewer system in the Manhasset business district. She is making passage of the Restore Mother Nature Bond Act on the November ballot a central element of her re-election campaign. For 2021, Sillitti has 100% environmental scorecards from both the League of Conservation Voters and Environmental Advocates.
NY Assembly Dist. 21 – Judy Griffin (Dem.): Griffin was elected to the Assembly in 2018. During the current term, she was instrumental in the passage of legislation to create and fund the South Nassau Water Authority, which places the provision of water services in her district under municipal control to limit costs and improve water quality and customer service. She also helped to secure Assembly passage of the Birds and Bees Protection Act, which will prohibit the sale of dangerous neonicotinoid pesticides, insecticides, and coated seeds. She has been a strong supporter of the 2022 Environmental Bond Act, which will provide $4.2 billion for a variety of important environmental initiatives. Going forward, she plans to work on creation of additional incentives for solar energy installations and revitalization of the marshlands in her district to improve water quality and provide better storm protection. Griffin has 100% environmental scorecards from Environmental Advocates for both 2021 and 2022 and a 100% scorecard from the League of Conservation Voters for 2021.
NY Assembly Dist. 22 – Michaelle Solages (Dem.): Solages has been a member of the Assembly since 2013. In her current term, she supported a number of important environmental initiatives, including the Build Public Renewables Act, which requires the New York Power Authority to provide only renewable energy to customers, and bills that require the development of a State clean fuel standard to reduce carbon emissions in the transportation sector and mandate that State agencies set a goal of conserving 30% of the State’s land by 2030. Solages chairs the Black, Puerto Rican, Hispanic and Asian Legislative Caucus and is a strong advocate for a legislative agenda that provides environmental and climate justice for disadvantaged communities. She has 100% environmental scorecards from Environmental Advocates for both 2021 and 2022 and a 2021 scorecard of 100% from the League of Conservation Voters.
US Congress NY Dist. 1 – Bridget Fleming (Dem.): Fleming has had a long career in public service, having previously worked as a prosecutor in the Manhattan District Attorney’s office, a manager of pro bono programs at the New York City Bar Association and a member of the Southampton Town Board. Since 2016, she has served as a member of the Suffolk County Legislature, where she established a strong environmental record and was endorsed by the Sierra Club in her last two re-election campaigns. In the County Legislature, Fleming and several colleagues worked with environmental groups to issue a Long Island Solar Roadmap, which identifies numerous sites on Long Island on which solar energy projects could be effectively deployed without negatively affecting the regions natural areas or prime farmlands. She also introduced and obtained passage of legislation establishing a Community Choice Aggregation Task Force, which promotes the benefits of aggregating the buying power of energy customers on a municipal or county-wide basis to lower energy costs and provide opportunities to secure cost-effective alternative energy supply contracts. In Congress, Fleming will work to obtain federal support and funding to protect Long Island’s coastal communities from the impacts of climate change, swiftly de-carbonize the region’s energy and transportation systems and protect Long Island’s precious ground and surface water resources.
US Congress NY Dist. 2 – Jackie Gordon (Dem.): Gordon is a Copiague resident and has an impressive resume. She had a long career in public education and served for a number of years on the Babylon Town Council. During her tenure on the Town Council and with her support, Babylon adopted several measures to facilitate sustainable development, including a requirement that all significant new commercial and industrial buildings meet the US Green Building Council’s LEED Certification standard. One of her signature projects on the Town Council was obtaining infrastructure improvements, including sewer service, for the economically depressed hamlet of Wyandanch for both environmental and economic development purposes. She also served a long stint in the Army Reserve, where she achieved the rank of Lt. Colonel and had active-duty tours in Iraq and Afghanistan. Gordon expresses support for key environmental goals, including aggressive action to address climate change and environmental justice for historically disadvantaged communities. She will work to bring renewable energy projects to Long Island, protect vulnerable coastal communities from the negative impacts associated with climate change and obtain additional federal funding to protect Long Island’s surface waters and aquifers.
NY Senate Dist. 1 – Skyler Johnson (Dem.): Johnson works for the non-profit New Hour Long Island, which provides support to current and formerly incarcerated women, their children and families and works to reform unproductive and unfair criminal justice policies, where he regularly engages with members of the State Legislature regarding policy issues. He is currently working with the office of Assemblyman Steve Englebright to obtain voter approval of the $4.2 billion Environmental Bond Act on this November’s ballot. He previously served as a political aide to the Mayor of Southampton, where he helped to secure the election of environmental advocates to the Village’s Board of Trustees. Johnson states that his top environmental priority is the protection of Long Island’s drinking water from the numerous threats now confronting it and, if elected to the Senate, he will work to secure additional State resources for this purpose. He strongly supports aggressive efforts to address climate change and a rapid transition to renewable energy and electrification of transportation and buildings.
NY Senate Dist. 2 – Susan Berland (Dem.): Berland has had a lengthy career in government service, having served on the Huntington Town Board between 2001 and 2017 and then two terms in the Suffolk County Legislature. In each of these legislative positions, she was a strong advocate for the environment and earned election endorsements from the Sierra Club. To protect our water resources, in the County Legislature she supported the construction of new sewer systems throughout the County and, for areas not served by sewers, the creation and expansion of a grant program for the replacement of obsolete septic and cesspool systems with advanced low-nitrogen septic systems. As a member of the Legislature’s Public Works Committee, Berland supported the purchase of hybrid-electric buses for the County’s transit system and funding to make County facilities more energy efficient. To reduce solid waste, she helped to enact County laws prohibiting the use of polystyrene foam containers and requiring that single-use beverage straws and stirrers be distributed “by request” only.
NY Assembly Dist. 1 – Fred Thiele (Dem.): Thiele has been a member of the Assembly since 1995 and has been a strong and consistent advocate for environmental protection. He was the author of legislation creating the Peconic Bay Community Preservation Fund, which empowers the towns in the Peconic Bay region to collect a 2% real estate transfer tax for land preservation and water protection. Since 1999, the Fund has collected over $1.9 billion and has resulted in the preservation of more than 10,000 acres of environmentally sensitive land on the east end of Long Island. In the current term, Thiele supported bills requiring the New York Power Authority to provide only renewable energy to customers, directing the Office of General Services to develop a plan for a zero-emission State vehicle fleet, and expanding the types of beverages eligible for deposit and redemption under the State Bottle Bill. Thiele has environmental scorecards of 100% for 2021 and 98% for 2022 from Environmental Advocates and a 2021 scorecard of 100% from the League of Conservation Voters.
NY Assembly Dist. 4 – Steve Englebright (Dem.): Since being elected to the Assembly in 1992, Englebright has been a forceful advocate on environmental issues, and he currently serves as Chair of the Assembly's Committee on Environmental Conservation. In this term, he supported bills to increase electric vehicle usage, including a bill to put New York on a path to sell and lease only zero-emission passenger vehicles by 2035, as well as bills to reduce carbon emissions and increase energy efficiency in buildings, increase waste recycling, protect the State’s water resources and preserve open space resources, including over one million acres of wetlands. For 2021, Englebright has a 93% environmental scorecard from the League of Conservation Voters and a 100% scorecard from Environmental Advocates.
NY Assembly Dist. 10 – Steve Stern (Dem.): Stern has served in the Assembly since 2018 and has rapidly established a strong environmental record. During the current term, he was appointed Chairman of the Assembly Subcommittee on Renewable Energy, a key leadership position in New York’s efforts to produce clean and affordable energy and generate well-paying jobs in the State’s expanding “green economy.” He supported bills that put New York on a path to sell only zero-emission passenger vehicles by 2035, update State codes to reduce carbon emissions and increase energy efficiency in buildings, require the development of a State clean fuel standard to reduce carbon emissions in the transportation sector, and establish a tax credit for the purchase and installation of highly efficient geothermal heat pump systems for building heating and cooling. Stern has 100% environmental scorecards from Environmental Advocates for both 2021 and 2022 and a 100% scorecard from the League of Conservation Voters for 2021.
NY Assembly Dist. 11 – Kimberly Jean-Pierre (Dem.): Jean-Pierre was elected to the Assembly in 2014. During this term, she supported a number of important environmental initiatives, including bills to require that all newly purchased school buses be zero emission by 2027, to require that State agencies set a goal of conserving 30% of the State’s land by 2030, and to update State codes to reduce carbon emissions and increase energy efficiency in buildings. Jean-Pierre has been particularly focused on ensuring environmental justice for historically low-income and marginalized communities, including those she represents, and she worked to pass legislation requiring the Department of Environmental Conservation to consider the disproportionate burdens placed on disadvantaged communities in connection with proposed facilities. For 2021, Jean-Pierre has 100% environmental scorecards from both the League of Conservation Voters and Environmental Advocates.