January 30, 2008

Champions For Change In Springfield

Here are Sierra Club's endorsements for General Assembly in the February 5th Republican and Democratic Primary elections. An unusual number of contested races this year creates new opportunities to elect environmental champions, and unprecedented threats to the General Assembly’s current environmental leaders. These are Democrats and Republicans we know will fight for smart energy solutions, healthy air and water, and open space.

The next General Assembly will decide whether Illinois takes serious action to fight global warming, create jobs in the new energy economy, and protect our drinking water from pollution. These are Democrats and Republicans, from downstate, the suburbs, and Chicago, who know that protecting the environment is good for the economy, good for our health, and good for our pocketbooks.

The legislature is expected to address major energy and environmental issues in the near future, including:

-Whether Illinois becomes the next “clean car” state, joining 14 others that have opted for cars that save money at the pump by using less gas, and put out less pollution

-State limits on global warming pollution, with major incentives for the creation of “green collar jobs”

-State programs to protect open spaces from development

-New drinking water safeguards

Illinois is on the verge of some very exciting changes that provide an economic boost while making our state a healthier place. However, to make these changes we need champions for solutions in Springfield, and we are proud to recommend this slate to Illinois primary voters.

Sierra Club has made these endorsements in primary elections so far. More endorsements will be made for the fall general election. Our priority with this round was to consider contested primary races.

Illinois House of Representatives

7 Karen Yarbrough (D)
9 Arthur Turner (D)
11 John Fritchey (D)
12 Sara Feigenholtz (D)
13 Greg Harris (D)
14 Harry Osterman (D)
16 Lou Lang (D)
17 Elizabeth Coulson (R)
18 Julie Hamos (D)
22 Sandy Pihos (R)
25 Barbara Flynn-Currie (D)
26 Will Burns (D)
27 Monique Davis (D)
29 David Miller (D)
34 Connie Howard (D)
38 Al Riley (D)
41 Bob Biggins (R)
48 Dave Carlin (R)
56 Paul Froehlich (D)
57 Elaine Nekritz (D)
58 Karen May (D)
59 Kathy Ryg (D)
62 Sandy Cole (R)
66 Christine Prochno (R)
71 Mike Boland (D)
78 Deborah Graham (D)
92 Allen Mayer (D)
96 Darlene Senger (R)

Illinois Senate

2 William Delgado (D)
7 Heather Steans (D)
41 Christine Radogno (R)
3 Mattie Hunter (D)
6 John Cullerton (D)
12 Martin Sandoval (D)
21 Dan Cronin (R)
29 Susan Garrett (D)
30 Terry Link (D)
39 Don Harmon (D)
42 Linda Holmes (D)

Sierra Club volunteers are working to assist the campaigns and educate area voters about the candidates’ positions on the issues. Sierra Club represents over 25,000 members in Illinois, and has been reaching to involve those members and, through Sierra Club Illinois Political Action Committee, the general public in these campaigns.

More information about Sierra Club’s endorsements is available at www.illinois.sierraclub.org/vote

January 23, 2008

A Clean Water Ticket For MWRD

Sierra Club has endorsed three candidates in the February 5th Democratic Primary for Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago. Sierra Club recommends a “clean water ticket” of Dean Maragos, Matthew Podgorski , and Mariyana Spyropoulos to Democratic primary voters in Cook County.

The safety and quality of our water supply will be on the ballot on February 5th, and these are three candidates voters can trust to safeguard our Chicago River and Lake Michigan. Each is committed to clean water, and will be champions for the changes we need to make to protect public health and drinking water.

The revival of the Chicago River is a huge success story, and people are flocking to it as a recreational resource. They should not be exposed to dangerous bacteria and pathogens in the water because MWRD chooses not to install the same disinfection equipment used by cities and towns all across Illinois and America, including by the MWRD itself at its plants in the suburbs.

None of the incumbents have committed to install disinfection equipment.

Maragos, Podgorski, and Spyropoulos would work to change that, and protect our water supply. We think they deserve the vote of those who want clean water on February 5th.

This is a chance to complete the revival of the Chicago River, and make it a safe and vibrant centerpiece of our city. Maragos, Podgorski, and Spyropoulos are leaders who have a vision for a clean and healthy river system for future generations.

The MWRD also has important responsibilities for protecting open space and guarding against flooding. Maragos, Podgorski, and Spyropoulos support new protections for Cook County’s last remaining wetlands, which soak up rainwater during storms, and using MWRD’s large land holdings for public purposes like recreation, wildlife habitat, and other non-commercial uses.

"We are at a generational crossroads where the decisions we make today regarding our natural resources will affect future generations. We have the knowledge and capability to make the right decisions, such as protecting Lake Michigan from pollutants and disinfecting our waterways,” said Mariyana Spyropoulos. “Let’s find the will to protect our natural resources."

“I would like to thank the members of the Sierra Club for putting their faith in me to serve as a true steward of our water environment,” said Matthew Podgorski. “Paying lip service to environmental causes will no longer suffice. The voters are ready to elect a Commissoner to the MWRD that has proven environmental leadership credentials.”

“What many voters do not realize is that the MWRD is one of the largest single landowners in Cook County. The District must pursue the best and highest use of that land, be it for picnicking, recreation or prairies,” said Dean Maragos, who is currently a Commissioner at the Illinois International Port District, the agency that controls most of Chicago’s southern lakefront. “The Sierra Club’s endorsement of my candidacy is a great honor I won’t soon forget. It will give voters an opportunity to better understand where I stand on important environmental issues while highlighting my sincere desire to increase recreational access to Chicago’s rivers and streams, which is an important step in improving our region’s water resources,” Maragos added.