The climate crisis is the existential threat of our time. That is why today, Speaker Pelosi named Democratic Members to serve on the new House Select Committee on the Climate Crisis who will be bold leaders in addressing this threat to our public health, economy, national security, and the whole of God’s creation.
Chaired by Congresswoman Kathy Castor, each member brings their own unique expertise and deep commitment to America’s effort to confront the climate crisis. Learn more about the new appointees below:
Congresswoman Kathy Castor started her professional legal career with the Florida Department of Community Affairs working to enforce environmental and growth management laws that protect wetlands, Florida’s coastline, endangered species and sensitive lands. As a Hillsborough County Commissioner, Castor served as chair of the Hillsborough County Environmental Protection Commission charged with protecting clean air, clean water, wetlands, land and the delegated elements of the Clean Air and Clean Water Acts. During her time in Congress, Castor has been a leader in protecting the environment and tackling the climate crisis. She serves on the House Energy and Commerce Committee, which has oversight responsibilities for environmental policies, and was a co-chair of the House Democratic Environmental Message Team that issued the Trump’s Toxic Team Report to lead the fight to address climate change and detail the corruption, self-dealing and abuse of taxpayer money under the Trump Administration at the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Department of Interior and Department of Energy. She is the author of the bipartisan and bicameral Florida Coastal Protection Act to ban oil drilling off the coast of Florida and has championed energy efficiency, distributed energy and environmental justice to ensure all communities enjoy the same degree of protection from environmental and health hazards.
Assistant Speaker Ben Ray Luján has worked throughout his career to build a clean energy economy in New Mexico and across America. He has introduced multiple bills in Congress to address climate change, including legislation that would create a national renewable energy standard. Prior to serving in Congress, Luján was the Chairman of the New Mexico Public Regulation Commission, where he worked to strengthen the renewable portfolio standard. On behalf of the state of New Mexico, Luján also joined Commissioners from California, Oregon and Washington to sign onto the Joint Action Framework on Climate Change.
Congresswoman Suzanne Bonamici serves as a member of the Committee on Science, Space and Technology, and she has previously served as the top Democratic member on the Subcommittee on the Environment. From this position, she has worked to address the causes and consequences of global climate change, and to make sure that policy decisions are based on science. As a representative of coastal Oregon and co-chair of the House Oceans Caucus and Congressional Estuary Caucus, she is working to draw attention to issues that affect coastal communities, including ocean acidification, tsunami and earthquakes, extreme weather events, and marine debris. Bonamici is committed to working to protect our public lands and natural resources, address climate change, move toward a clean energy future, defend science, and protect the Environmental Protection Agency from political influence. Bonamici’s Northwest Oregon district is already facing the challenges of inaction on climate change — more acidic oceans, rising sea levels, raging wildfires, changing agricultural conditions and extreme weather events. Bonamici also knows that climate change and pollution disproportionately affect our most vulnerable, and we must do more to protect the public of health of our communities.
Even before coming to Congress, then Assemblywoman Julia Brownley was awarded numerous honors for her leadership on the environment. She was one of just 10 legislators in 2011 with lifetime perfect scores by the California League of Conservation Voters. When President Trump decided to withdraw from the Paris Climate Agreement, Congresswoman Brownley said that “clearly the President had decided not step up, so Congress, state and local governments and individual citizens across the country must.” Brownley has stated that the task of curbing climate change falls on all citizens of the world and we all must do our part to stop pollution, protect public health and build a competitive 21st Century, clean energy economy. Brownley also sits on the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure.
Before coming to Congress, Congressman Sean Casten received an undergraduate degree in molecular biology and biochemistry and masters’ degrees in engineering management and biochemical engineering. These led to a career in science and business. In 2005, the USCHPA recognized Casten as a “CHP Champion” for his work advocating the greater use of clean, efficient heat and power generation. Most recently, Casten co-founded Recycled Energy Development LLC, with a mission to profitably reduce greenhouse gas emissions and create clean energy jobs. Casten made climate change a central issue of his successful campaign. A trained scientist, Casten’s family has been involved in green entrepreneurship for decades. Casten has said that he has spent 20 years of his life trying to do something positive about climate change and that goal doesn’t change because he has a different job, it’s just given him a different set of tools to do it. Casten serves on the House Science, Space and Technology Committee.
Prior to his election to public office, Congressman Jared Huffman was a Senior Attorney for the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC). Huffman also served six years in the California State Assembly where he chaired the Water, Parks and Wildlife Committee, and was co-chair of the Legislative Environmental Caucus. Huffman is also the chair of the Water, Oceans, and Wildlife Subcommittee on the House Natural Resources Committee, co-chair of the House Democratic Environmental Message Team, and sits on the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure. As part of a coordinated state and national effort to protect the entire coastline of the United States from the dangers of offshore oil drilling, and send a strong message of opposition to the Trump Administration’s attempted drilling spree in public waters, Huffman reintroduced the West Coast Ocean Protection Act and the Stop Arctic Ocean Drilling Act in the 116th Congress. Huffman has said that fighting climate change is the biggest imperative of our time. He continues to advance legislation to move from dirty fossil fuels to clean energy and combat climate change. Huffman has earned a 99 percent lifetime score on LCV’s National Environmental Scorecard.
Throughout his career, Congressman Mike Levin has been a passionate leader on environmental protection, clean energy and combating climate change. Before coming to Congress Levin worked as an attorney focused on energy and environmental issues. In addition to his legal work, Levin served on the board of the Center for Sustainable Energy, and co-founded Sustain OC, helping accelerate the transition toward more sustainable power generation and transportation alternatives. As a Member of Congress, Levin has made one of his top priorities combating climate change and capitalizing on the economic benefits of a sustainable energy future. He was one of the first freshman Members of Congress to endorse the Green New Deal. Levin also serves on the House Natural Resources Committee.
Congressman A. Donald McEachin has been a clean energy and environmental justice champion since serving as a state legislator, when he passed legislation that enabled major renewable energy developments. In Congress, he co-founded and co-chairs the United for Climate and Environmental Justice Task Force; co-chairs the House Democratic Environmental Message Team; co-chairs the Congressional Black Caucus’ Energy, Environment and Agriculture Task Force; serves as Vice-Chair of the Sustainable Energy and Environment Coalition; and serves on the Energy and Commerce Committee and Natural Resources Committee.
Before coming to Congress, Congressman Joe Neguse devoted his career to serving the public, including leading Colorado’s consumer protection agency (which includes the state’s Public Utilities Commission) and co-founding New Era Colorado, a non-profit organization committed to climate and clean energy issues. With New Era Colorado, Neguse worked to engage young people in efforts to fight climate change and to promote clean energy in the state. Now, Neguse serves on the House Natural Resources Committee, and is a member of the House Sustainable Energy and Environment Coalition (SEEC). Neguse represents Colorado’s 2nd Congressional District, one of the leading epicenters of climate research in the country, including multiple Federal labs such as the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association (NOAA) in Boulder and the Cooperative Institute for Research in the Atmosphere (CIRA) in Fort Collins. His priorities in Congress are protecting our treasured public lands and fighting the existential threat of climate change. Neguse is committed to bold action on renewable and clean energy, and protecting the incredible public lands in Colorado and beyond. Neguse has supported the Green New Deal because it outlines comprehensive action at the federal level to transition to 100 percent renewable energy and leverage the skills and the ingenuity of the American workforce to tackle the climate crisis.