June 26, 2007

GOP Loses Solid Conservationist

I sincerely hope that Paul Froehlich's switch from Republican to Democrat, announced today, has more to do with the political issues cited in news coverage than with his strong, pro-environment voting record.

I am sure Froehlich will continue to support environmental protection as a Democrat, just as he did as a Republican. That's because he casts his votes based on the facts and the will of his constituents, and his partisan affiliation doesn't affect either.

The American conservation and environmental movement has historically had support from Republican leaders at critical times, whether it was Teddy Roosevelt protecting many of the public lands we enjoy today, or Richard Nixon overseeing the enactment of our modern environmental laws and agencies.

Here in Illinois, Republican legislators are a critical part of the growing bloc that is increasingly making our state a leader in environmental protection. Representatives Winters, Biggins, Coulson, Mulligan, Krause, Bassi, Tryon, Fortner, Pihos, Lindner, Cole, and Pritchard, and Senators Cronin, Althoff, Radogno, Peterson, and Dillard are among those who have been supportive of smart energy solutions, cleaner air, cleaner water, and protecting natural areas for future generations. (My apologies to any I missed - this is a quick list off the top of my head just to give you an idea.)

These numbers have been growing in recent years (as they have in the Democratic caucuses). For those of us who work for clean air and water, and all of us who value it, let's hope that trend keeps moving in the right direction. It makes for good public policy, and good politics as voters increasingly choose pro-environment candidates from both parties.

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