CCL Texas groups hold lobby day at state legislature

CCL volunteers gather in the Capitol Rotunda during their day of lobbying Texas legislators.

CCL volunteers gather in the Capitol Rotunda during their day of lobbying Texas legislators.

By Steve Valk

Everything is bigger in Texas — including when it comes to energy and climate. In the U.S., Texas is the largest energy producer and also emits the most carbon dioxide. If Texas were a country, it would be the 9th largest economy by GDP and the 8th largest emitter.

That means there’s lots of opportunity for action at the state level to help our nation transition to a clean energy economy. With that in mind, CCL volunteers recently gathered in Austin for a Texas State Lobby Day, held March 27-28, where they held meetings with more than a third of the entire Texas state legislature.                                                                                                                                                                          

volunteers in front of capitol building in Texas

Planning the state lobby push

The effort started coming together last year with volunteers Larry Howe and Ann Drumm, who were inspired by what CCL volunteers in Utah were doing with their state legislators.

Howe said, “In Texas, our members of Congress — especially our Republican ones — need grasstops to influence them to come around on climate policies. Last fall, a few extremely motivated volunteers were discussing things to consider for the upcoming state legislative session, and a lobby day event rose to the top.”

Drumm, who’s been a CCL volunteer off and on for the past seven years, added, “After the big freeze in 2021, where our grid almost failed, it seemed appropriate to turn our attention to the legislature and advocate to strengthen our grid. Since CCL has identified electrification as a new national priority, and since Texas has an independent grid that is not connected to the rest of the country, this seemed to be the right issue at the right time. It was a no-brainer to take our D.C. lobby day experience and translate it to a lobby day at the state Capitol.”

CCL Third Coast Regional Coordinator Susan Adams said, The idea is to have constructive conversations with Republicans about climate change, and our sense was that if we can move the state legislators, that will help push our members of Congress.” 

state lobby teams

State lobbying stats

The event drew 81 citizen lobbyists from 41 different House districts and 25 different Senate districts. They conducted 66 meetings, 47 with Republicans and 19 with Democrats. Volunteers also delivered their asks to 115 other offices, ensuring that the whole legislature heard from CCL. Drumm put together the lobby teams and scheduled each of the meetings, working it all out on an Excel spreadsheet. 

“It was amazing to see it come together with all the dedicated volunteers on the organizing team and then volunteers from all across the state making the journey to Austin,” Howe said.

In lobby meetings, volunteers asked Texas legislators to:

  • Keep Texas’s competitive edge as the nation’s energy leader
  • Expand economic opportunities in Texas
  • Improve grid reliability
  • Save consumers money
  • Reduce greenhouse gas emissions
  • Expand bipartisan participation in the Texas Energy and Climate Caucus 

In a press release, Adams said, “Texas has amazing energy resources and has always been a leader in energy. We will encourage our legislators to maintain that leadership by investing in the resilience of our grid and its capacity to meet Texans’ needs at a reasonable cost, especially in extreme weather events.” 

Making an impression

As CCL volunteers usually do, they made a great impression with lawmakers and staffers they met with. In the office of one Republican who is a member of the Energy and Climate Caucus, an aide said, “I love CCL!” That aide has joined the Austin chapter and will be attending the next meeting. 

Two of the Republicans that volunteers met with pledged to join the Texas Energy and Climate Caucus. “It is clear that these senators and representatives, for the most part, are open minded and are willing to listen. I feel like we made a difference,” said one volunteer.

Howe said, “After it was over, I remember thinking “Holy moly – we pulled it off.” And they’re not done yet. The Texas legislature convenes once every two years, so the next opportunity to lobby will be in 2025.

We will definitely be back for another lobby day during the 2025 session,” Drumm said. “I’m committed to that.”


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