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Sarah & Bob: Two volunteers behind CCL’s Endorser Program

Sarah Davidson endorser program CCL

Sarah Davidson (far right) is one of the volunteer administrators of CCL’s Endorser Program database.

Sarah & Bob: Two volunteers behind CCL’s Endorser Program

By Philip Finkelstein

Climate change has never been a more pressing issue, and demand for Congressional action is steadily increasing. One way CCL helps show that demand is through endorsements for our proposed legislation, Carbon Fee and Dividend (CF&D). Lifting up the voices of key community members like business owners to faith leaders, the Endorser Program demonstrates the support behind CF&D, in the hopes that constituent approval will sway members of Congress and expedite climate action.

The idea for the program grew from Jay Butera’s efforts in South Florida delivering mayoral endorsement letters to show members of Congress the level of support there was for climate change legislation, which helped lead to the formation of the Climate Solutions Caucus in 2016. The burgeoned program has become an integral feature of the CCL framework, administered by dedicated volunteers, compiling and overseeing the CF&D endorsements. Here is a look at two such administrators who keep the database running smoothly.

Making the magic happen

Sarah Davidson and Bob Tancig both got involved with the Endorser Program to further their volunteering capacity within CCL. Sarah, who began helping out with this program in spring of 2016, said, “With a job and a toddler who thrives without all that much sleep, I was struggling to stay involved as a volunteer and looking for ways to contribute in the unpredictable pockets of time that I could find. Helping out with the database is one of a few tasks I’ve found that works well with my schedule.”

Plus, their intuitive and experiential skills with database design have helped them to quickly learn and navigate the interfaces and keep organized critical information regarding CF&D endorsements. “Our goal is to make the database as accurate and useful as possible for other CCL volunteers using the database as a resource in their local efforts to support CF&D,” Bob said.

Sarah CCL Endorser program

Sarah Davidson (far right), Jay Butera (second from left), and other volunteers at a past CCL lobbying event

A greater purpose

For Sarah and Bob, their job extends beyond data entry, as the work they are doing serves a much greater purpose. “The Endorser Program amplifies CCL’s message by showing members of Congress all the support there is in their districts for congressional action on climate change,” Sarah said, “not just from CCL volunteers or environmentalists, but from individuals who are leaders in their communities, city councils, organizations, congregations, and businesses.”

Bob added, “The Endorser Program encourages CCL volunteers to share the benefits of a CF&D policy with local community leaders whose opinions may have a stronger influence on our members of Congress than the opinions of individual community members.” In this way, we can place more pressure on our representatives to pass favorable climate legislation.

Seeing the impact

There are many ways a CCL volunteer can work to promote CF&D, but for Bob, helping with the Endorser Program is especially fulfilling. “I enjoy seeing all the great contacts CCL volunteers from all across the country are making with a broad range of community leaders, businesses, and organizations,” he said. “As the database grows, it reflects, in a tangible way, the growing support for climate action and CF&D. It is very encouraging to actually document the strong interest in the work of CCL as it continues to emerge in communities all across the US.”

Bob Tancig Ted Yoho Endorser Program CCL

(L-R) Noah Shitama, an endorser from Swallowtail Farm, Alachua, FL; CCL volunteer John Ward; Rep. Ted Yoho (R-FL); Bob Tancig

It can also make CCL’s lobbying meetings more effective, like the ones we have scheduled next week for Congressional Education Day. Sarah said, “Being able to show up on the Hill with a list of endorsers that are important to a member of Congress makes us and our message that much bigger, showing that we aren’t only representing CCL volunteers—we also represent a broad range of important stakeholders, influential voices, and perhaps even a source of campaign donations in their districts.” Sometimes endorsers even attend lobby meetings themselves, as pictured here.

Support is key to fostering change, and the Endorser Program exemplifies this in full. Torpidity on congressional climate action can be overcome by taking advocacy into our own hands. As Bob said, “When CF&D becomes the law of the land, it will be, in no small part, due to all of the CCL members who recruited endorsers and added to the documented support listed in the Outreach Database.”

A special thanks to Sarah and Bob for their contributions and time.

To learn more about the Endorser Program, the Outreach Database, and how your chapter can seek endorsements, visit the Endorsements page on CCL Community.

Originally from Vermont, Philip Finkelstein is a recent Political Science graduate from the University of British Columbia. He has a deep passion for writing and desire to bring about meaningful change.