By Katie Zakrzewski
CCL’s Conservative Conference on March 29 and 30 succeeded in uniting right-leaning climate advocates in D.C. and taught 85 volunteers about the importance of right-wing participation in the climate movement.
In the weeks leading up to the conference, Nate Abercrombie, the Conservative Outreach Coordinator for CCL, went on a radio and television media tour to spread the word about the conservative-focused climate event, appearing on WKBW7, WUSA9, and WDVM.
(CCL Executive Director Madeleine Para and RepublicEn Executive Director Bob Inglis)
“This conference was a wonderful opportunity to connect with old and new faces, including people we hadn’t seen since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic,” shares CCL Executive Director Madeleine Para. “I think this conference also serves as a reminder that the environment and climate change are very much on the minds of conservatives of all ages.”
(Craig Preston, Chair of CCL’s Conservative Caucus)
“The dual efforts of the CCL staff and the Conservative Caucus Action Team produced an amazing event. We discussed needs for faster innovation via streamlined permitting processes, a broader view of our clean energy future, with new nuclear on the table,” said Craig Preston, Chair of CCL’s Conservative Caucus. “Voices spoke, and voices were heard from the many stakeholders in the emission reduction movement. I was glad to attend, participate, and am ready for more dialogue so we get the robust enduring bipartisan legislation needed ASAP.”
The event featured speakers such as Rep. Nancy Mace (SC-01), Rep. Young Kim (CA-39), Rep. John Curtis (UT-03), Rep. Mariannette Miller-Meeks (IA-02), Rep. Trey Hollingsworth (IN-09), and Executive Director of RepublicEN Bob Inglis. Alaska Senator Lisa Murkowski recorded a video message for the attendees, as well.
The speakers delivered messages about the history of conservatives in conservation, as well as how U.S. jobs, business, and health are impacted by climate change and can benefit from market-driven solutions. The second day of the conference taught volunteers how to be conservative climate leaders in D.C. and locally.
(U.S. Representative John Curtis (R-UT-03))
“When I came to Congress, I did not have my climate feet underneath me. And the CCL in Utah reached out to me. The very first thing we did was take a 12-hour hike together. It kicked off well, but there was no judgment, there was no criticism, there was only encouragement and explanation and understanding. So let me just say that one of the reasons I’m here, I do what I do, is because of my relationship with CCL Utah,” shared Rep. John Curtis (R-UT-03). “I know my fellow conservatives, I know my fellow Republicans, care deeply about this earth, but they’re being painted and branded as if they don’t care, as if they somehow deny the science. There are some of them in that category, but not the vast majority.”
(U.S. Representative Young Kim (R-CA-39))
Rep. Young Kim (R-CA-39) echoed these sentiments. “Protecting our environment shouldn’t be controversial. This is something both sides of the aisle must come together on. We all know that the climate is changing, and that it’s time to seek innovative and clean energy solutions to lower emissions.”
Rep. Trey Hollingsworth (R-IN-09) talked about the impact of climate change on the agriculture industry. “This is an important issue to me. Where I go all the way across the district, I hear about this from a wide variety of people, whether it’s from those in the agricultural community back in Indiana, students at Indiana University, or even senior citizens worried about what they’re going to leave to their grandkids or their great grandkids. This cuts across all demographics, all income groups, all occupations, and I’m really excited to see that broad swath of people represented here and talking about these issues.”
(U.S. Representative Nancy Mace (R-SC-01))
Rep. Nancy Mace (R-SC-01) discussed the importance of advocacy work and contacting your politicians. “I ask for this report every day — who’s calling? What are they calling about? What are the emails? We track everything in a report. […] Knowing what people care about and where they stand on an issue is also very important. Those phone calls, those emails, those letters, they do make a real difference. So that advocacy work is important.”
Rep. Mariannette Miller-Meeks (R-IA-02) established the importance of American leadership on the issue of climate. “Do you believe in climate change? That’s the wrong question to ask. The right question to ask is what can we do to have a cleaner environment, a healthier environment, and one that transitions us to cleaner energy sources, less carbon exposure, but doesn’t do it in a way that hampers us economically and makes us uncompetitive globally. That’s the answer, to me. That’s the question we should be asking.”
“All of us can agree that America should be leading on this issue. This is an issue that we should lead on, that we should not follow on,” she added. “I don’t believe that our response to climate and climate solutions have to compromise our economy or our energy independence.”
The conference had over 85 attendees, who explored breakout rooms for conservatives over and under 40, as well as panels from young conservatives and panels about the role of business and economics.
(Nate Abercrombie, Conservative Outreach Coordinator for CCL)
“Drew and I are beyond thrilled with all of the positive feedback we’ve received from the conference’s attendees,” Nate Abercrombie says. We’re hoping this event will energize volunteers’ conservative outreach and engagement efforts through 2022 and beyond.”
(Drew Eyerly, CCL’s Conservative Outreach Director)
Nate shared his final thoughts in reflection after the conference.
If you or a right-leaning friend are interested in joining CCL, check out our conservative opportunities here.