Jolly good! Florida rep joins sponsors of Gibson climate resolution
Republican support for the game-changing Gibson climate resolution (H. Res. 424) continues to grow, most recently with the addition of its thirteenth Republican sponsor, Rep. David Jolly.
Making a run for Marco Rubio’s vacant Senate seat, Jolly currently represents Florida’s 13th district, which includes St. Petersburg. The area has much at stake with climate change and related sea level rise due to its location on Florida’s vulnerable west coast. The addition of Jolly to the resolution is a big win for both Florida and Citizens’ Climate Lobby.
Congressman Jolly has a prodigious history of fighting for important issues. These include championing government spending and tax reforms, fighting for veteran healthcare availability, and participating in beach re-nourishment projects, to name a few. Now he adds climate change to his growing list of concerns. By cosponsoring the Gibson resolution, Jolly joins 12 other Republicans who publicly accept that climate change is an issue that needs to be addressed.
The importance of adding another Republican representative to the resolution cannot be overstated. In the House, many members still do not accept climate change as a veritable problem. Perhaps, as Republicans continue to lend support to the resolution, more representatives will jump on the climate change bandwagon.
CCL’s Senior Congressional Liaison Jay Butera feels this move by Jolly has broader significance.
“I think it’s very encouraging that he’s running for statewide office and he feels that taking a firm stance on climate action would be politically viable. When politicians begin to understand that to win the state of Florida, they must be advocates of climate action, then everything changes, including the presidential race. Because to win the White House, you have to carry Florida, and to carry Florida, you have to be on board with climate change.”
Change can only happen, however, if the representatives are informed about the will of their constituents. The CCL volunteers in St. Petersburg and Bradenton, Florida, deserve major kudos for their efforts in maintaining contact with Congressman Jolly and keeping him informed of the resolution.
It was not a simple undertaking, but the young St. Petersburg chapter was up to the challenge. This was, in large part, due to the efforts of John and Susan Darovec, CCL leaders in Bradenton, who were extensively involved in founding the St. Petersburg chapter and creating a relationship with Rep. Jolly. CCL members met with Jolly on five separate occasions, both in the district and in Washington, over the course of a year. Later, CCL included all of its members in Florida when they organized a statewide call-in campaign, asking Jolly to cosponsor the resolution.
Jay Butera said of these efforts, “It’s the cumulative effect of all of these CCL actions that are helping us build the political will that is moving Congress forward on climate change. It’s a huge team effort, never just the action of one person.”
But, CCL volunteers in Florida did not stop there. Andy Bragg, a member of the St. Petersburg chapter, recently booked Jolly to speak at the CCL Florida conference taking place on Feb. 27 in Tampa. Butera will introduce Jolly at the conference.
The tireless work of the many CCL members has helped move climate change policy in a positive direction. It will be interesting to watch Congressman Jolly as he campaigns for Senate.
Jessica Battisto, a member of the CCL Blog Team, is an intern with CCL in Atlanta and a student at Emory University.