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Bellevue highschooler confronts Representative about track record on climate


SEATTLE, WA - January 21, 2020 ( Newswire) Saturday evening, three members of Sunrise Movement Seattle attended the 2020 Kickoff for King County Democrats at the Duwamish Longhouse and Cultural Center to confront their elected officials about their support-or lack thereof-for substantive climate policy.

After the event, Elle Johnson, junior at Bellevue High School and activist with Sunrise, asked U.S. Representative Suzan DelBene (D-WA-1) about her lack of support for the national Green New Deal resolution (GND). The resolution, which was put forth in the House by Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez last February, expresses the need for reformative legislation to achieve nationwide net-zero emissions, create millions of high-wage jobs, secure clean air and water, and promote justice and equity.

"We have other bills that we've moved through. We haven't moved that one through Congress," responded Rep. DelBene, referring to the resolution that she did not support. Two of DelBene's Washington counterparts in the House, Reps. Pramila Jayapal (D-WA-7) and Adam Smith (D-WA-9), were the only Washingtonians among the resolution's 98 co-sponsors.

DelBene did not detail reasons for her lack of support, calling the resolution "aspirational" and stating "I think we can also get much more specific on how we're gonna get there." The GND, a simple resolution, is intended to express the sentiments of the chamber, and does not become law in the manner of a bill or joint resolution.

An overwhelming 62% of Washingtonians already support the Green New Deal, according to Data for Progress. "Pledging to support the GND reveals the true motives of our representatives," argues Johnson, 17. "If they say that they want to reverse climate change, but have not signed onto the GND, then they are not a climate champion."

Johnson explains, "I am pushing for the Green New Deal because it is the most comprehensive, equitable, and fast-acting plan that exists to tackle the climate crisis. We are at a pivotal point where we need to choose between natural systems and people or corporations and fossil fuels. The GND is crucial in pushing the United States onto the path towards climate justice."

Johnson is a member of the Seattle hub of Sunrise Movement, but is starting a hub in her hometown of Bellevue. "I am starting a Bellevue chapter because I believe that Bellevue has the propensity to lead the state in sustainable practices. I have seen the amazing talent of youth on the Eastside and I can't wait to get started!"

Sunrise Movement is a nationwide grassroots organization of young people fighting for good jobs and a livable future. "Sunrise will continue to pressure our representatives until they commit to the Green New Deal," says Johnson. Sunrise has eight hubs in Washington, including Olympia, Tacoma, and Seattle. Sunrise Seattle will have their next general meeting to discuss further steps on Tuesday, January 28th, at 6:30pm at Gethsemane Church (911 Stewart St., Seattle, WA 98101).

Photo 1: Elle Johnson, 17, confronts Representative DelBene (D-WA-1) about her track record on climate policy at the Duwamish Longhouse and Cultural Center.

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