Climate change is not a threat in the distant future. It is threatening the lives, homes, and livelihoods of people who live in my district today. We have to take bold action to mitigate climate change and restore our forests to health. The Green New Deal is not a plan to mitigate climate change – it is a bold commitment to the belief that we can. I want to be a policymaker who crafts pragmatic policies that support the vision of the Green New Deal – tailored to benefit the people and the communities of California’s first district. I will be the voice at the table that represents rural America, our farms, ranches, and forests. A lot of misinformation about the GND has been propagated and folks in conservative districts range from skeptical to afraid of it. I believe the GND is a tremendous opportunity for us to push forward innovative policies that will help our farmers and ranchers prosper, make our forests healthy and our communities safer from wildfires, and restore our rural economies – all while doing our part to mitigate climate change.
We can equip farmers and ranchers with the technical expertise to implement practices that sequester carbon into the soil – like cover-cropping, minimal tillage farming, and holistic managed grazing. We can create ecosystem service markets where farmers and ranchers are compensated for stewarding the public’s air, land, and soil. Farmers and ranchers can increase their razor thin profit margins and we can keep more family farmers on their land.
Under a GND policy framework we can set the initiatives in place to do the large-scale, forest wide, restoration projects. Only by restoring our forests to health by doing the critical thinning, selective logging, and fuels-reduction work, will we be able to lesson our wildfire risk and mitigate the dangerous result of climate change. We can create economic incentives to find new industry utilization for the woody biomass removed from our forests. This will look like manufacturing sustainable building materials like cross laminated timber (CLT) and processing woody biomass into low carbon transportation fuels. We can set policies in place to support the career and technical education programs and apprenticeship programs that will be necessary to build the required local workforce. All of these opportunities mean high paying jobs and more economic opportunity for the real people of California’s first district.