2018 Alabama Primary: Candidate Survey Responses

Alabama’s Statewide Primary Elections will be held on June 5, 2018, followed by Statewide Runoff Elections on July 17, 2018 as needed. This year, GASP decided to engage in voter education and civic engagement to help bolster our Democracy. We sent our 2018 Candidate Questionnaire to every candidate whose email address we could find via public information. The candidates who responded are listed below alphabetically with their information and answers.

DISCLAIMER: GASP is a 501(c)(3) organization and is therefore limited in the types of election activities we can engage in. The purpose of this survey is to provide information to voters about issues that affect their lives so that they may make informed choices. In accordance with IRS rules and regulations GASP is not permitted to endorse candidates. Nothing below should be construed as an endorsement of any kind whatsoever. Whatever your political leanings, we encourage every citizen to vote — for the health of our Democracy.

Lieutenant Governor

Dr. Will Boyd

Office Sought: Lieutenant Governor of Alabama

Party: Democrat

Current Occupation: State Democratic Executive Committee Member & Chairman of the Lauderdale County Democratic Executive Committee

Website: willboydforalabama.com

Facebook: facebook.com/willboydforalabama

Twitter: @willboydforAL

Do you support the Clean Air Act, which allows the EPA and state agencies to set science-based air quality standards for criteria pollutants (e.g., ozone and particulate matter), air toxics (e.g., arsenic and benzene), and greenhouse gases (e.g., carbon dioxide and methane)? Please explain your answer.

I support the Clean Air Act and the efforts of concerned scientists who seek to regulate emission of dangerous pollutants that endanger “public health and welfare.”

Describe your position on climate change and related policies to reduce greenhouse gas emissions?

I support legislation sponsored to reduce green house gas 80% by 2050.

How will you promote energy efficiency and clean energy in Alabama?

I will work to make Alabama more supportive of investment in solar, wind, hydro, and geothermal production. I particularly want to see incentives in Alabama provided for residential solar installations and clean energy upgrades.

What will you do to work for climate justice and a just transition to an equitable and sustainable economy?

In addition to serving as a “Friend of Labor,” I have also introduced proposals to help blue collar workers prepare for a “cleaner and greener economy.” Additionally, I support the efforts of the 2013 Green Jobs Act.

What does a comprehensive and far-reaching climate adaptation plan for Alabama look like?

Alabama would benefit tremendously from a climate adaptation plan that addresses the following sectors: 1) agriculture & food, 2) biodiversity, 3) coastal flooding & stormwater management, 4) ecosystems, 5) emergency preparedness, 6) energy, 7) infrastructure, 8) land use, 9) public health, and 10) water.

Explain your stance on the goal of transitioning Alabama to a 100% carbon-free energy state?

Serving as Lt. Governor, I would partner with members of the senate on “both sides of the aisle” with interests in climate change to introduce and pass legislation that will help reduce Alabama’s carbon footprint particularly by investing in renewables.

What will you do to strengthen our public health systems to address the challenge of climate change?

One of the best ways Alabama’s public health can be strengthened is by expanding Medicaid. Climate change has reportedly led to Alabamians being exposed to increased rainfall, drier soil, an increased in sea level, sinking land, warmer air and increase in ground level ozone. Public health systems particularly need to be strengthened to help those who stand to benefit most by Medicaid and would be hurt most by warmer temperatures and ground level ozone–the sick, the children, and the elderly. Proactively, Alabama should erect or establish more “cooling stations” during the summer months and also provide additional regional health care centers where there as higher intake levels due to problems associated with cardiovascular and pulmonary complications (i.e. heat stokes, asthma attacks, heart/lung disease).

What steps will you take to increase funding for public transit? How will you help improve walking and bicycling infrastructure in Alabama’s cities?

I have already proposed a high speed rail system that would reduce carbon emissions from automobiles while also reducing congestion and extending the life of roadways and bridges. Alabama is one of a few states that continues to leave federal dollars on the table because it will not invest in public transportation. Living near TVA facilities in North Alabama, I have access to some of the most beautiful walking and bicycling trails. This infrastructure has more recently been expanded in areas like Tuscaloosa. I will work to ensure that Alabama seeks not only to invest in public transportation projects like high-speed rail to provide more Alabamians with more working opportunities; but, I will also work to identify funding that creates walking and bicycle trails in the communities we pay our taxes and raise our families.

Do you believe public utility companies like Alabama Power should be able to charge customers additional fees for installing solar panels on their own homes? Please explain.

I do not believe Alabamians should be charged additional fees for installing solar panels on their own homes. I would actually support ways to finance residential solar so there are no up-front costs. I furthermore support legislation like the Low Income Solar Act (LISA) of 2015, originally sponsored by Senator Bernie Sanders, and H.R. 2447 (2017-2018) Low-Income Solar Act that aim to provide opportunities for installation of solar panels directly on homes in low-income areas of Alabama or indirectly by way of community solar facilities. Such legislation also incentivizes construction of homes able to sustain solar panels and provides assistance for installation of solar panels on tribal lands within the state.

What are your ideas on how to address the health disparities in communities located in close proximity to large facilities that emit a lot of pollution?

I believe healthcare is a right; not a privilege. I also believe every Alabamian should have access clean air and clean water. Especially in communities in close proximity to large facilities that emit a lot of pollution, community health clinics should be established, particularly to address cardiovascular and pulmonary complications (i.e. asthma attacks, lung disease) associated with exposure to harmful pollutants in the air or drinking water. Additionally, state agencies should lend full support to communities adversely affected by toxic waste or chemical spills that that contaminate groundwater supplies and allegedly play a part in central organ failure.

Alabama has seen widespread public corruption in every branch of government and at every level in recent years. Please describe your view on ethics and transparency in government and how to prevent future corruption.

I strongly believe that leadership derailment often occurs as there is a lack of continuous articulation of values and beliefs. Alabama has seen widespread corruption and needs restoration of public trust through ethics reform. The recent controversies surrounding moral failures in all three of Alabama’s branches of government have presented the state with a greater need for demonstration of ethical behavior and social responsibility. I propose use of “leadership reflection surveys” and “government office ethical scorecards” to allow Alabama government workers and residents of the state to express their views of leadership engagement in the highest ethical practices. Public trust in our state officials will only come as government officials embody the highest levels of ethical responsibility and engage in exemplary leadership practices which ultimately look out for the well-being of all Alabamians.

What is your campaign’s position on accepting campaign contributions from large businesses that pollute our air and water such as fossil fuel companies and utility companies? Please be specific.

My campaign has not and will never accept campaign contributions from a large business known to intentionally destroy the environment or intentional bring harm to Alabamians for any reason–especially related to pollution of air and water. The only large business campaign contributions I have ever received for any campaign were received from Labor political action committees (i.e. autoworkers, blacksmiths, boilermakers, building and trade, forgers, iron ship builders, operating engineers, painters, pipe fitters and plumbers).

Alabama House of Representatives

Tom Fredricks

Office Sought: Alabama House of Representatives, District 4

Party: Republican

Current Occupation: President, Fredricks Outdoor

Website: tomfredricks.com

Facebook: facebook.com/TomFredricksAL

Twitter: n/a

Do you support the Clean Air Act, which allows the EPA and state agencies to set science-based air quality standards for criteria pollutants (e.g., ozone and particulate matter), air toxics (e.g., arsenic and benzene), and greenhouse gases (e.g., carbon dioxide and methane)? Please explain your answer.

Clean air and clean water are paramount. The EPA, however, needs to be constrained. I applaud Trump’s efforts toward that end.

Describe your position on climate change and related policies to reduce greenhouse gas emissions?

Climates change. Policy that offers real positive impact is fine. Political rhetoric is not.

How will you promote energy efficiency and clean energy in Alabama?

Through free market competition.

What will you do to work for climate justice and a just transition to an equitable and sustainable economy?

Through free market competition.

What does a comprehensive and far-reaching climate adaptation plan for Alabama look like?

Free market competition. Once it is cheaper to produce solar, wind or other, it will be produced. Coal and oil are finite.

Explain your stance on the goal of transitioning Alabama to a 100% carbon-free energy state?

Let the free market do it’s thing.

What will you do to strengthen our public health systems to address the challenge of climate change?

Focus on disaster relief protocols and preparedness.

What steps will you take to increase funding for public transit? How will you help improve walking and bicycling infrastructure in Alabama’s cities?

Uber…

Do you believe public utility companies like Alabama Power should be able to charge customers additional fees for installing solar panels on their own homes? Please explain.

Yes, provided the free market is preserved.

What are your ideas on how to address the health disparities in communities located in close proximity to large facilities that emit a lot of pollution?

Don’t live in communities duly located.

Alabama has seen widespread public corruption in every branch of government and at every level in recent years. Please describe your view on ethics and transparency in government and how to prevent future corruption.

Hire people who aren’t prone to those influences.

What is your campaign’s position on accepting campaign contributions from large businesses that pollute our air and water such as fossil fuel companies and utility companies? Please be specific.

They haven’t given me any…but it takes money to run a race, so until we limit contributions, I don’t really care where it comes from. I function on principle, not influence.

Alabama House of Representatives

Jenn Gray

Office Sought: Alabama House of Representatives, District 45

Party: Democrat

Current Occupation: data transcription/analysis

Website: votejenngray.com

Facebook: facebook.com/votejenngray

Twitter: @votejenngray

Do you support the Clean Air Act, which allows the EPA and state agencies to set science-based air quality standards for criteria pollutants (e.g., ozone and particulate matter), air toxics (e.g., arsenic and benzene), and greenhouse gases (e.g., carbon dioxide and methane)? Please explain your answer.

Yes. But I am extremely concerned that the current EPA under Scott Pruitt has removed the influence of scientific data from quality standards. At the end of April Pruitt signed a directive reducing the pool of data that the EPA can use to base it’s regulations. We need science-based standards for limits on pollutants and toxins in both air and water quality. We need transparency, to make sure these levels are monitored, and accountability, to make sure that offenders are adequately fined and reprimanded for infractions.

Describe your position on climate change and related policies to reduce greenhouse gas emissions?

Climate change is real and poses a multitude of threats to Alabama including rising sea levels, coastal storms, extreme heat, and drought. To reduce greenhouse gas emissions I would promote policies that have worked in other states such as:

  1. Electric/gas decoupling
  2. Mandatory greenhouse gas registry/reporting
  3. Public benefit funds

How will you promote energy efficiency and clean energy in Alabama?

Decoupling will accomplish some of this. Separating revenue stream from sales volume will mean that it will not be possible to increase revenue through increased energy consumption. 

While I would love to see solar panels on homes and easier buy-in for individuals, the fact remains that Alabama’s industrial sector accounts for more than two-fifths of end-use consumption and uses more energy than the transportation and residential sectors combined. It is naïve to expect that individuals alone can put a large dent in energy consumption. We must focus on the energy consumption of the automotive, chemical, metals manufacturing, forestry, and aeronautical industries in Alabama. I would promote rebates and incentives to energy efficient and/or green businesses, energy audits, and energy conservation techniques in process industries.

What will you do to work for climate justice and a just transition to an equitable and sustainable economy?

Poor communities should not be poisoned or otherwise harmed by industries. Being poor should not be a death sentence. Companies that are contaminating the air, water, or soil of a community are not operating under free market conditions. We, the community, are paying for their cost saving measures, often with our lives. These companies are externalizing costs and internalizing profits (we pay for their gain). Communities where this has occurred need reparations to make their communities whole again. Regulatory auditing systems need to be in place to ensure that corporations are not externalizing costs onto communities.

What does a comprehensive and far-reaching climate adaptation plan for Alabama look like?

Alabama is expected to suffer from higher temperatures, drought, rising sea levels, coastal storms, coastal erosion, and flooding due to climate change. Many of the factors impeding a climate resiliency plan in Alabama have to do with social injustice, systemic racism, economic inequality, distrust of science/education and government corruption. A * comprehensive* plan must, therefore, tackle these overarching issues as well as put in place a system to protect our environment.

The only Gulf Coast state that has adopted a climate resiliency plan is Florida (http://www.georgetownclimate.org/adaptation/state-information/florida/overview.html). So I looked to it to see what a Southern/Gulf Coast state plan would entail. This work was divided into two Phases – Phase I focused primarily on strategies to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, while Phase II focused on long-term strategies.

I would look to Florida’s plan as a good place to start in forming Alabama’s plan. In addition, Alabama has no water management plan which would be necessary in any long term plan. We should providing funding for the protection of human health and infrastructure from climate change events. As a trained scientist, I would like to require environmental impact studies prior to large scale construction projects and community health studies for any industry that physically impacts a community.

Explain your stance on the goal of transitioning Alabama to a 100% carbon-free energy state?

As a scientist I am wary of the notion of either 0% or 100%. Just as it is always easiest to lose those first ten pounds than the next, and the last ten pounds can be almost impossible, so to when approaching 100% of anything. Not to say that it isn’t doable. But I would first focus on the things that we can do immediately to improve carbon dependency.

With that caveat, this is a fascinating article about a good way to start the process – at college campuses. This seems like a great idea to me because college campuses are already a focal point of innovation and are inhabited by young people with new ideas that are not tied to an outdated mindset. I see this endeavor as a symbiotic relationship:

  1. Build local industry to transform and create energy-efficient and/or carbon-free facilities at colleges.
  2. Educate and train students to the benefits of these systems and prepare them for working in the field upon graduation.
  3. Graduating students enter industry presented in (1) to gain employment in the field (self-promoting system)

This not only helps tackle the issue of energy-efficiency but also the “brain drain” of Alabama. Which is that students don’t have a field to “land” in in Alabama once they graduate. This would create a sustainable industry in Alabama for students to work in once the graduate *and* reduce our dependence on carbon.

What will you do to strengthen our public health systems to address the challenge of climate change?

This is something that I wold ask a public health expert about. I know the issues that will need to be addressed – surplus supplies for extreme weather exigencies, surveillance systems and early warning systems to detect new diseases or disease in previously inhospitable locals, training for caregivers of the young and elderly or other populations at higher health risk; I do not have the public health expertise necessary to address this topic without input for experts in the field.

What steps will you take to increase funding for public transit? How will you help improve walking and bicycling infrastructure in Alabama’s cities?

This is a massive planning project that needs to be completed in stages to work properly. However, like my plan to establish a college/industry coalition in energy-efficiency fields, efficient mass public transit will also be a net increase in jobs and wealth in Alabama.

Local bus routes must first be established and efficiently run. Sidewalks are needed so that people can safely maneuver to the destination once at their stop. Once local routes have been established and people can get around in the Birmingham metro area cities, then we can establish light rail to connect the cities.

I imagine the cities out on 280 and connecting to Birmingham would be the best place to start. Traffic to/from 280 and Birmingham is a parking lot for at least an hour in hte morning and night. Commuters would get at least an hour a day to read or work or relax on train instead of sitting in traffic five days a week. I would establish a program of incentives for business to provide to their employees taking mass transit.

I lived in San Francisco for 12 years without even owning a car. Two of those years with a infant/small child. It is easily doable and inexpensive when the correct infrastructure is in place.

Do you believe public utility companies like Alabama Power should be able to charge customers additional fees for installing solar panels on their own homes? Please explain.

No. I don’t think any corporation should have the capacity to make itself a monopoly. I am pro-solar panels but I also just feel that no business should have the power to impose harsh fees and restrictions on a competing technology.

What are your ideas on how to address the health disparities in communities located in close proximity to large facilities that emit a lot of pollution?

Facilities should not be emitting large amounts of pollution. It is a false dichotomy that business cannot compete and thrive while ensuring the safety and heath of the community and it’s employees. The CEO and upper management might have to take a pay cut. But the community should not pay for a companies cost-saving measures.

Alabama has seen widespread public corruption in every branch of government and at every level in recent years. Please describe your view on ethics and transparency in government and how to prevent future corruption.

This is one of the main focal points of my campaign. Alabama leads the nation in both illegal and legal corruption and it affects every aspect of our lives. Corruption affects not just the quality of our water and air but also the education of our children and who is afforded basic civil rights. This is unacceptable. Alabama needs a complete and total ethics overhaul. It is *legal* for Alabama Sheriff’s to pocket “excess” funds in prisoners meals. But it is not ethical to starve the people you are responsible for to make a dollar.

I support full transparency and accountability in government. I believe that there should be no partisan PAC or special interest group donations to campaigns. Elected officials should run for office because they want to serve the people and their community. Not because they want to make a buck from lobbyist or special interest groups. I meet that criteria.

What is your campaign’s position on accepting campaign contributions from large businesses that pollute our air and water such as fossil fuel companies and utility companies? Please be specific.

I will not accept campaign contributions from large businesses that pollute our air and water such as Alabama Power, Drummond Company, or any others that would actively seek to purchase influence with campaign contributions.

Alabama House of Representatives

Rusty Jessup

Office Sought: Alabama House of Representatives, District 30

Party: Republican

Current Occupation: Mayor of Riverside, Ala.

Website: n/a

Facebook: facebook.com/RustyJessup30

Twitter: @rustyjessup

Do you support the Clean Air Act, which allows the EPA and state agencies to set science-based air quality standards for criteria pollutants (e.g., ozone and particulate matter), air toxics (e.g., arsenic and benzene), and greenhouse gases (e.g., carbon dioxide and methane)? Please explain your answer.

Yes. And will also consider the economic impact.

Describe your position on climate change and related policies to reduce greenhouse gas emissions?

I understand and realize we must reduce our greenhouse emissions, and this must be done with an open mind about the economic impact of drastic measures.

How will you promote energy efficiency and clean energy in Alabama?

Solar, solar and solar. Take measures to encourage solar development.

What will you do to work for climate justice and a just transition to an equitable and sustainable economy?

We must move slowly and not all at once. Huge drastic measures or regulations simply are too harsh for the economy. One step at a time.

What does a comprehensive and far-reaching climate adaptation plan for Alabama look like?

Steps toward solar energy and maybe even more nuclear energy, with a gradual scale back our dependence on fossil fuels.

Explain your stance on the goal of transitioning Alabama to a 100% carbon-free energy state?

Do not know.

What will you do to strengthen our public health systems to address the challenge of climate change?

Educational incentives to increase awareness and public demand.

What steps will you take to increase funding for public transit? How will you help improve walking and bicycling infrastructure in Alabama’s cities?

Grant money for alternative transportation projects with a low match.

Do you believe public utility companies like Alabama Power should be able to charge customers additional fees for installing solar panels on their own homes? Please explain.

Do not know, but I’m interested.

What are your ideas on how to address the health disparities in communities located in close proximity to large facilities that emit a lot of pollution?

Do not know.

Alabama has seen widespread public corruption in every branch of government and at every level in recent years. Please describe your view on ethics and transparency in government and how to prevent future corruption.

I am a small town Mayor. I have been trained to be open and transparent, because we have to be. Closed door deals and discussions breed bad offspring. Press and Media coverage must be open also, because bad reporting drives a lot of things underground out of fear of misrepresenting the facts.

What is your campaign’s position on accepting campaign contributions from large businesses that pollute our air and water such as fossil fuel companies and utility companies? Please be specific.

A Candidate can not win or even run without corporate contributions, so this is a slippery slope. I personally think that these Fuel and Utility companies have to be part of the solution. If they don’t want to be part of the solution, then I (personally) would not want their money, and would not take it.

Governor

Walt Maddox

Office Sought: Governor of Alabama

Party: Democrat

Current Occupation: Mayor of Tuscaloosa

Website: waltmaddox.com

Facebook: facebook.com/WaltMaddoxAL

Twitter: @WaltMaddox

Do you support the Clean Air Act, which allows the EPA and state agencies to set science-based air quality standards for criteria pollutants (e.g., ozone and particulate matter), air toxics (e.g., arsenic and benzene), and greenhouse gases (e.g., carbon dioxide and methane)? Please explain your answer.

Yes, I support the Clean Air Act. Environmental regulations may be the best example of the adage that forgetting the past dooms one to repeat it. Before the landmark environmental laws of the 1960s and 1970s, our air and water were in serious trouble. Smoke filled the skies, releasing dangerous pollution that affected health and productivity, and our rivers were catching fire. The science based approaches of our environmental laws means that regulations have a legitimate purpose based on facts. A recent study found that the Clean Air Act not only significantly reduced air pollution, it also put extra dollars in workers’ paychecks.

Describe your position on climate change and related policies to reduce greenhouse gas emissions?

I embrace the indisputable science that proves that climate change is real and highly affected by human activity. We should take reasonable measures to reduce our dependency on pollution-causing fossil fuels by supporting solar, wind, and other clean energies. Of course there’s limited effect an individual state can have without strong national and international policies. For that reason, I encourage the Trump administration to revisit its policies that reduce the effectiveness of our environmental laws, so that there is an effective, coordinated effort to reduce greenhouse gasses.

How will you promote energy efficiency and clean energy in Alabama?

We need to spread the truth about the relationship between clean energy and the economy. Solar, wind, and other innovative energy technologies are an opportunity to build on Alabama’s history of creating jobs in more traditional fields such as coal and methane production. Georgia has 4,310 solar jobs, Tennessee has 4,411, and South Carolina has 2,829, but Alabama has fewer than 500 solar jobs, ranking us 49th per capita in solar energy employment. We want coal miners to go back to work, but the truth is that solar and wind industries employ nine times more workers than coal. In fact, the only occupations expected to double by 2026, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, are clean-energy jobs like solar-panel installers and wind-turbine technicians. We should be investing in the abundance of free sunshine throughout the state and where feasible, wind power along the gulf coast.

What will you do to work for climate justice and a just transition to an equitable and sustainable economy?

We must recognize that minority communities have long received the brunt of our polluting activities and receive slow responses with few answers when the negative effects are felt. Eight Mile community near Prichard has been suffering from a mercaptan chemical spill for years. As governor, I would declare Eight Mile an emergency calling for a strong response. Children in Lowndes County play near open sewage that’s so bad that hookworm – once thought to be eradicated in America – has caused widespread infestations on par with developing countries. Our urban centers are not immune. Birmingham ranks in the top 15 urban areas in the Unites States that have the largest disparity between predominantly white communities and predominantly African American communities in nitrogen dioxide levels, with African Americans exposed to 38 percent more of this dangerous pollutant compared to white people. Exposure to nitrogen dioxide can cause lung and heart disease, and contributes to early death. To combat these trends, as governor I will direct ADEM and other state regulators to consider environmental justice factors in all actions related to polluting activity, to the maximum extent allowed by law.

What does a comprehensive and far-reaching climate adaptation plan for Alabama look like?

It is very challenging for a state to go it alone in fighting a problem that readily crosses state and international borders. That’s why I encourage the federal government to reverse its current trend in going backward in environmental protection. What Alabama can do is promote the economic benefit of clean energies, effectively addressing two major challenges at the same time: more and better jobs plus a cleaner environment.

Explain your stance on the goal of transitioning Alabama to a 100% carbon-free energy state?

Every state action that affects polluting activity should be subject to review. Of course we cannot undermine our economy by forcing sweeping changes that do not make economic sense. But if all costs and benefits of renewable, clean energies are factored in, we will soon see that it makes sense both environmentally and economically to transition toward a carbon-free energy world.

What will you do to strengthen our public health systems to address the challenge of climate change?

Expand Medicaid. This would give hundreds of thousands of working and impoverished Alabama citizens access to healthcare they currently do not have. Once Medicaid is expanded, many other opportunities to enhance healthcare through new medical technologies will take place, while also growing jobs and wages.

What steps will you take to increase funding for public transit? How will you help improve walking and bicycling infrastructure in Alabama’s cities?

Unfortunately the state has for far too long neglected its transportation system for motor vehicles, which endangers lives and prevents job growth. So that fundamental problem has to be addressed first. But we need to simultaneously realize that both our heath and the economy are enhanced by more human-powered transportation. In Tuscaloosa, our Tuscaloosa Forward plan emphasizes pedestrian and bicycle friendly networks, and encourages or mandates installation of walking and biking features in transportation infrastructure. That same mindset should be brought to the entire state.

Do you believe public utility companies like Alabama Power should be able to charge customers additional fees for installing solar panels on their own homes? Please explain.

Policies should be instituted that encourage, not discourage the use of renewable energy sources. People who install solar panels on their homes should pay no more for electricity they buy from a power company than is justified by the cost of providing that power, like any other customer.

What are your ideas on how to address the health disparities in communities located in close proximity to large facilities that emit a lot of pollution?

The first thing we must do is address health disparities across the state. Expanding Medicaid will give hundreds of thousands working and impoverished citizens access to healthcare that they currently do not have. Next, we must assure that the review process for approving facilities that emit significant pollution is fair and equitable.

Alabama has seen widespread public corruption in every branch of government and at every level in recent years. Please describe your view on ethics and transparency in government and how to prevent future corruption.

The key to fighting corruption is full transparency and accountability, compliance with all reporting and disclosure requirements, actively guarding against conflicts of interest, and total dedication to putting the interests of the people I serve first. The ethics law should be amended to prohibit persons from working in state government who are paid by someone other than the state; to prohibit misuse of state resources even when there is no personal gain; to cover those in romantic relationships with government officials or employees, in addition to spouses; and to prohibit those in authority from directing, initiating, or receiving reports on criminal investigation for political or personal purposes. I will mandate that all staff and cabinet members under the governor’s control fully disclose all potential conflicts of interest and recuse themselves from any matter for which their impartiality reasonably could be questioned. Under my administration, the Governor’s Office will implement the following office practices:

  • Disclose visitor logs of all who meet with the governor on official business
  • Disclose all assistance offered by the state for economic development
  • Mandate full compliance with public meeting and open records laws
  • Seek and facilitate public comment on significant proposals that would commit state resources
  • Exception will be allowed only for sensitive preliminary discussions and preparatory actions related to a major opportunity for the state that could be lost if confidentiality is not provided or maintained for a period of time, and then only when conducted in full compliance with the law.

What is your campaign’s position on accepting campaign contributions from large businesses that pollute our air and water such as fossil fuel companies and utility companies? Please be specific.

Unfortunately, campaigns run on money, and I don’t have enough to afford the luxury of turning down donations. But I make this promise to the people of Alabama: I will always put their interests first. I will never take any action for the purpose of pleasing a donor or securing the next contribution. If people who give money to my campaign don’t like my actions in office, they are free to never donate again. I can’t be bought and I won’t be sold.

Alabama Senate

Jerry McDonald

Office Sought: Alabama Senate, District 14

Party: Democrat

Current Occupation: retired

Website: mcdonaldforalsenate.com

Facebook: facebook.com/McDonaldforAL

Twitter: @McDonaldForAL

Do you support the Clean Air Act, which allows the EPA and state agencies to set science-based air quality standards for criteria pollutants (e.g., ozone and particulate matter), air toxics (e.g., arsenic and benzene), and greenhouse gases (e.g., carbon dioxide and methane)? Please explain your answer.

Yes. Without discernible, scientific standards there will be nothing to stop the rationalizing of pollution by those who usually do not suffer its consequences.

Describe your position on climate change and related policies to reduce greenhouse gas emissions?

Most, if not all of climate change over the past two hundred years is due to man made a activity, specifically the burning carbon based fossil fuels. We must. as soon as possible, seek other sources of energy to mitigate the dangers of continuing our dependency on fossil based fuels.

How will you promote energy efficiency and clean energy in Alabama?

Perhaps in the short term, we could scrutinize our activities to make sure we are using our present energy sources as efficiently as possible in order to have some effect on greenhouse emissions. Long term, we have to seek sources of energy that reduce, or do not produce greenhouse emissions and which are also job creating enterprises. More use of solar energy is definitely an option. We should also consider the possibilities of recycling waste debris in this effort.

What will you do to work for climate justice and a just transition to an equitable and sustainable economy?

I would work to incentivize policies reducing or eliminating our use of fossil based fuels and toxic industrial byproducts and their effects which are usually borne by those who can least afford justice under our present system.

What does a comprehensive and far-reaching climate adaptation plan for Alabama look like?

Reduced, or elimination of fossil based fuels, more efficient use in those areas such as the use of mass transit and rail services, and the development of non fossil based sources of energy.

Explain your stance on the goal of transitioning Alabama to a 100% carbon-free energy state?

It is necessary if the planet is to remain a habitable environment for human life.

What will you do to strengthen our public health systems to address the challenge of climate change?

Obviously, we have to accept in Alabama the federally funded expansion of medicaid as originally provisioned by the ACA to cover the consequences of not having done so in the first place, and to cover the uncalculated costs of health issues which are often the result of unhealthy environmental conditions.

What steps will you take to increase funding for public transit? How will you help improve walking and bicycling infrastructure in Alabama’s cities?

I would emphasize the use of these means of transportation as a means to reduce dependence on fossil based fuels. I would also advocate for tax structures to fund such development and the need for responsible, sensible federal funding for such infrastructure needs.

Do you believe public utility companies like Alabama Power should be able to charge customers additional fees for installing solar panels on their own homes? Please explain.

No. As long as you are not violating any laws or safety, or environmental standards, you should be allowed to generate power in any way you see fit.

What are your ideas on how to address the health disparities in communities located in close proximity to large facilities that emit a lot of pollution?

First, make sure the pollutants are being reduced as much as possible within the law and that standards of inspection are in place to make sure this is being done. Viable and functional means of reporting and litigation must be allowed in order for citizens to cite and pursue their concerns.

Alabama has seen widespread public corruption in every branch of government and at every level in recent years. Please describe your view on ethics and transparency in government and how to prevent future corruption.

Basically, without transparency in government, you don’t have a democracy. Obviously, responsible lobbying laws need to be passed to address money in politics. Ultimately though, citizens hold their elected officials to accountability through the power of the vote and their demand for accountability.

What is your campaign’s position on accepting campaign contributions from large businesses that pollute our air and water such as fossil fuel companies and utility companies? Please be specific.

I will not accept those contributions.

Alabama House of Representatives

Jacqueline Gray Miller

Office Sought: Alabama House of Representatives, District 54

Party: Democrat

Current Occupation: College Professor

Website: www.votegraymiller.com

Facebook: facebook.com/votegraymiller

Twitter: @votegraymiller

Do you support the Clean Air Act, which allows the EPA and state agencies to set science-based air quality standards for criteria pollutants (e.g., ozone and particulate matter), air toxics (e.g., arsenic and benzene), and greenhouse gases (e.g., carbon dioxide and methane)? Please explain your answer.

Yes, I support the Clean Air Act (CAA). I have advocated personally and professionally in support of the CAA. As the Alabama Marketing Manager for The Nature Conservancy, the CAA was an cornerstone to the pragmatic, science-based approach to collaborative discussion — even on some of the most divisive issues.

Describe your position on climate change and related policies to reduce greenhouse gas emissions?

Climate change may be the most important challenge humanity has ever faced. Greenhouse gases from human activities are the most significant driver of observed climate change since the mid-20th century. Climate change and global warming are already beginning to transform life on Earth. Without action, the impacts of climate change threaten to catastrophically damage our world. But by rallying people around the world to be a part of the solution, together we have the power to limit the effects of climate change.

How will you promote energy efficiency and clean energy in Alabama?

Fossil fuel-based energy production (such as coal and natural gas) is a major cause of air pollution and global climate change. In order to address this, I propose replacing fossil fuels with clean and renewable energy sources such as wind, solar, geothermal, and efficiency.

What will you do to work for climate justice and a just transition to an equitable and sustainable economy?

Minorities currently comprise about one-third of the US population, and by 2050 will represent more than half of the American people. But their participation in the conservation workforce is woefully low. My goal is challenge the conservation movement to become more racially diverse.

What does a comprehensive and far-reaching climate adaptation plan for Alabama look like?

The plan includes everything from cutting power plant emissions to boosting the amount of wind and solar energy installations on public lands and buildings.

Explain your stance on the goal of transitioning Alabama to a 100% carbon-free energy state?

Across the U.S. over 65 cities, more than five counties and one state, have already adopted ambitious 100% clean energy goals. In Alabama, this can be through a stand-alone Resolution or Proclamation, or integrated into a Climate Action Plan or Energy Action Plan.

What will you do to strengthen our public health systems to address the challenge of climate change?

According to a study published in Science in June 2017, rising temperatures could reduce gross domestic product in Alabama counties by five to 15 percent by the end of the century. Warmer temperatures could also increase mortality rates in the South relative to the rest of the country. Education is the key to strengthen our public health systems to address the challenge of climate change.

What steps will you take to increase funding for public transit? How will you help improve walking and bicycling infrastructure in Alabama’s cities?

A cyclist passionate about making our cities walking and bicycle friendly, I want to compete for government funding. To do so, we must collect more data then submit strong proposals to be part of creating a walking and cycling infrastructure revolution.

Do you believe public utility companies like Alabama Power should be able to charge customers additional fees for installing solar panels on their own homes? Please explain.

Together, we can find the appropriate compromise for people and nature.

What are your ideas on how to address the health disparities in communities located in close proximity to large facilities that emit a lot of pollution?

Environmental justice is defined as the fair treatment and meaningful involvement of all people regardless of race, color, national origin, or income, with respect to the development, implementation, and enforcement of environmental laws, regulations, and policies. I am committed to environmental justice principles and working against injustices in Alabama. We must educate residents and find the means to build new communities.

Alabama has seen widespread public corruption in every branch of government and at every level in recent years. Please describe your view on ethics and transparency in government and how to prevent future corruption.

As a State Legislator, I will encourage more voter participation and support campaign finance reform. This includes proposals such as no-excuse absentee voter registration, early voting in Alabama, Election Day voter registration, and complete disclosure of all political campaign expenditures by for-profit and non-profit corporations and all political action committees, including those making independent expenditures. I am a strong proponent for transparency in government.

What is your campaign’s position on accepting campaign contributions from large businesses that pollute our air and water such as fossil fuel companies and utility companies? Please be specific.

We have not received any contributions from large businesses that pollute our air and water.

Alabama House of Representatives

Jim Toomey

Office Sought: Alabama House of Representatives, District 47

Party: Democrat

Current Occupation: retired

Website: JimToomeyforAlabamaHouse.com

Facebook: facebook.com/JimToomeyforALHD47

Twitter: @JimToomey1

Do you support the Clean Air Act, which allows the EPA and state agencies to set science-based air quality standards for criteria pollutants (e.g., ozone and particulate matter), air toxics (e.g., arsenic and benzene), and greenhouse gases (e.g., carbon dioxide and methane)? Please explain your answer.

Yes.

Describe your position on climate change and related policies to reduce greenhouse gas emissions?

I support the Clean Air Act and other science-based legislation.

How will you promote energy efficiency and clean energy in Alabama?

I will support energy efficiency and clean energy by focusing attention on the economic benefits of clean energy.

What will you do to work for climate justice and a just transition to an equitable and sustainable economy?

I will educate myself and introduce legislation based on facts.

What does a comprehensive and far-reaching climate adaptation plan for Alabama look like?

Investment in our renewable resources.

Explain your stance on the goal of transitioning Alabama to a 100% carbon-free energy state?

I support it.

What will you do to strengthen our public health systems to address the challenge of climate change?

Ensure that everyone has access to affordable HealthCare.

What steps will you take to increase funding for public transit? How will you help improve walking and bicycling infrastructure in Alabama’s cities?

We must invest more money in public transit including walking and bicycling infrastructure.

Do you believe public utility companies like Alabama Power should be able to charge customers additional fees for installing solar panels on their own homes? Please explain.

I do not believe public utility companies like Alabama Power should be able to charge customers additional fees for installing solar panels on their own homes. Utility companies should be investing in future technologies too.

What are your ideas on how to address the health disparities in communities located in close proximity to large facilities that emit a lot of pollution?

There is no simple answer. However, more investment is required by those large facilities to limit pollution to some safe amount.

Alabama has seen widespread public corruption in every branch of government and at every level in recent years. Please describe your view on ethics and transparency in government and how to prevent future corruption.

To prevent future corruption of our elected officials I support term limits and campaign finance reform in order to limit the amount of money spent in order to get elected.

What is your campaign’s position on accepting campaign contributions from large businesses that pollute our air and water such as fossil fuel companies and utility companies? Please be specific.

My campaign will not accept campaign contributions from large businesses that pollute our air and water such as fossil fuel companies and utility companies.

PLEDGE TO VOTE

Elections are vital instruments of change and progress in a democratic society. As a 501(c)(3) organization, GASP cannot endorse candidates or weigh in on elections. But we can and do encourage citizens to exercise their right to vote and consider issues related to our mission when they head to the polls.