Senate goal smashed! On to the House

senate climate outreach

Senate goal smashed! On to the House

By Flannery Winchester

3 weeks. 21,389 concerned citizens. 51,077 emails and calls to Senators. CCL volunteers did that.

When we first announced this campaign, our goal was to have 10,000 people contact their Senators about a price on carbon. “Because so many states quickly exceeded their goal, we raised our goal to 14,815,” CCL Executive Director Mark Reynolds told volunteers Tuesday night. By the end of the campaign on August 10, more than 21,000 concerned Americans had reached out to their Senators in this crucial moment.

“Our planet and the scientists who study it are screaming for help,” Mark said, referencing this week’s dire IPCC report. “We are answering the call.”

And the Senate is taking notice. Dr. Danny Richter, CCL’s Vice President of Government Affairs, confirmed that our wave of outreach is making an impact on Capitol Hill. “We’ve gotten the message that Senate offices have noticed your calls, and carbon pricing is still very much in the reconciliation discussions,” Danny said.

“With this campaign, we have struck while the iron was hot — while Senators and their staff were most open to suggestions, to creativity, and to what their constituents wanted,” Danny added. “We could not have made our voices heard at a more opportune time,” and we’ve maximized the probability that a carbon price is part of the solution.

Madeleine Para, CCL’s President, affirmed what an extraordinary job our volunteers have done all across the country. “Your commitment is reverberating throughout the organization, and I want you to know I’m proud of the work that was done in every single state by every single set of CCLers in the state.”

On to the House

After putting up such incredible numbers in the Senate campaign, now we’re pivoting to the House. Why? The bulk of budget negotiations will happen in the Senate, but the budget will need to pass the House as well. And though we don’t yet know if a carbon price will be included in the Senate’s budget reconciliation bill, we want to prepare for that and set it up for success.

“Our goal with this House campaign is to soften the ground,” Danny said. Essentially, we want to make sure that when the Senate’s reconciliation package is received by the House, they have heard lots from their constituents saying ‘I want this.’ “This makes it less likely that they make forceful and unhelpful statements in opposition to a carbon price that they later need to walk back,” Danny explained.

As the Senate campaign did, the House campaign will last for three weeks — now through August 31. The House campaign also has its own dedicated page you can use to send your emails, make your calls, and encourage family and friends to participate: cclusa.org/house.

As with the Senate campaign, we’re starting with a national goal of 10,000 people calling and emailing their representatives in the House.

Ask friends, phone bank, or grab a clipboard

After you’ve made your own call and sent your email, reach out to people in your own network — friends, family, coworkers — who could contact their representatives, too. Also, make sure to circle back with folks who you may have asked to participate in the Senate campaign. They have already shown that they are willing to take action, and this action should be even easier now that they know what the process is like.

Another way you can help out is to join a phone bank to call CCLers in particularly crucial districts and encourage them to contact their representatives. “We started this effort as part of the Senate campaign, Madeleine said, “and it looks like you are loving them!” CCL volunteers anywhere in the country can sign up to phone bank at cclusa.org/phonebank-signup.

And if all else fails, you can always go old school and grab a clipboard. Madeleine shared a success story from Bill Barron, CCL’s Mountain West Regional Coordinator. In Flagstaff, Arizona, Bill and one or two fellow CCLers at a time went to community parks and outdoor farmers markets. They did outreach for a couple of hours at a time, over the course of a few days, prompting local people to call their Senators. Before they started, they were at 57% of their outreach goal, and by the time they were finished, they had reached 97% of their goal.

“Given COVID, I only recommend doing this if you’re vaccinated, the cases aren’t too bad where you are, and you should probably consider wearing a mask,” Madeleine advised. 

We have plenty of resources to support you in this campaign on CCL Community. Let’s go make it happen!

Flannery Winchester
Flannery Winchester has put her words to work for magazines, for marketing agencies, and now for our earth as CCL's Communications Director. She is grateful to spend every day working to preserve this beautiful planet.