Dear Chair Perez,
Last week, the Democratic National Committee announced further details for the third and fourth Democratic primary debates, including dates, media partners, and new participant qualification rules. On one crucial detail, the DNC was completely silent — whether it would listen to the tens of thousands of Democratic activists who are demanding a debate solely focused on the defining issue of our time — the climate crisis.
We have nearly run out of time to act on climate change. For decades, leaders have kicked the can down the road on this crisis, refusing to stand up to big oil and coal and other big polluters and move to an economy run on clean energy, while the media has largely sidelined the issue, failing to give it the intense attention and focus it deserves. In 2016, there were zero questions on climate change during the general election debates. As Democrats, we must do better in 2020. On behalf of grassroots Democrats and environmentalists around the country, I’m asking the DNC to lead the way and announce a climate debate today.
In order to confront this challenge and maintain a world recognizable to our kids and grandkids, the next president must make defeating climate change the number one priority of the United States and must have detailed plans to take immediate action. Democratic voters deserve to get beyond talking points and hear real, in-depth plans on climate change.
The Democratic Party’s response to climate change cannot only be a few quick questions in the first debates where, in 60 seconds, candidates merely agree that this issue is important, and move on. We need a full debate to really wrestle with who has the best plans to defeat this existential crisis, who has demonstrated the commitment it will take to get this job done, and who understands the scale of ambition necessary to see this mission through to completion.
Defeating climate change won’t be easy. If it was, it would’ve been done a long time ago. Powerful special interests will do everything they can to keep their profits and the status quo. We need to demonstrate to the millions of Democrats around the country who care deeply about the future of our planet that we are ensuring our next president is equipped to deal with this crisis.
That’s why today I am urging you to hold a climate debate. Dozens of groups have launched petitions calling on the DNC to hold a climate debate, including the U.S. Youth Climate Strike, CREDO, Climate Hawks Vote, 350 Action, Greenpeace, Oil Change US, Daily Kos, NextGen America, the Sunrise Movement, Women’s March, Endangered Species Coalition, Bold Alliance, and more. At least nine other Democratic presidential candidates have joined me and these groups in urging the DNC to host such a debate. And we will continue to urge other candidates and organizations to join us in calling for one.
You have the opportunity to make one of the first four scheduled Democratic presidential debates a climate debate. I urge you to use your power to ensure that the climate crisis is on the agenda.
I would be appreciative of a response by June 11th.
Governor Jay Inslee
Candidate for President of The United States
If you agree, join me in the call for a climate debate now.