We won a lot of races during the primaries (85% to be exact), but we haven’t reached the finish line…yet. The general election is days away on Tuesday, November 6 – and there are conservation candidates up and down the ballot that need your vote to win! Conservation champions have achieved great things at the Statehouse – permanent reauthorization of the Conservation Bank, historic shoreline protections, transformative energy reforms, and more. Now these champions – and conservation – need your vote in November so that, together, we can continue to build a bipartisan conservation majority and keep fighting to protect the South Carolina we all love. However, turnout in mid-term elections tends to be low – a few hundred votes can mean electing a conservation champion or not. That is why your vote is as important as ever. As you’re doing your research before heading to the polls, we wanted to let you know about a few key CVSC endorsements this cycle. You can check out our full endorsement list (as of 10/17/18) at this link. Here are a few candidates we think you’d like to know more about: SC Senate Special Election
- Dick Harpootlian (D-Richland) As an accomplished attorney, county solicitor, and member of Richland County Council, Harpootlian has a track record of achieving bipartisan, pragmatic results in his service to the community. He also has a clear commitment to conservation including growing our clean energy economy, supporting land protection efforts, and protecting the rights of citizens to a clean and healthy environment. Put these things together – a bipartisan record of success, a commitment to shake things up in the Statehouse, and a proven commitment to conservation – and you can see why Harpootlian has earned the endorsement of CVSC.
- Rep. Peter McCoy (R-James Island) After the failure of the VC Summer nuclear project in mid-2017, McCoy led bipartisan efforts to identify and recommend sweeping reforms to energy decision-making in South Carolina. As a result, Rep. McCoy sponsored 6 energy reform bills that sought to inject transparency, accountability, and ratepayer protections into our energy system – a majority of these bills passed this legislative session. McCoy also cosponsored three additional bipartisan, pro-solar clean energy bills in the 2018 session, spoke out in opposition to offshore drilling, and was a champion of protecting local communities’ rights to limit plastic pollution. McCoy has also led efforts to establish historic protections for our coastline, saving iconic Lowcountry landmarks like Captain Sams Spit. For all of this and more, McCoy was honored with CVSC’s 2018 Green Tie Award for House Conservation Leadership.
- Rep. Robert Brown (D-Hollywood) boasts an impressive 90% lifetime score on CVSC’s conservation scorecard, including a 103% score in 2018, because of his commitment to clean and healthy communities and protecting the quality of life of the Lowcountry. A 2011 Green Tie Champion, Rep. Brown has been a steadfast supporter of solar energy growth, opposition to attacks on core environmental protections, and supporting the rights of citizens to a clean and healthy environment. He has been a loud and outspoken opponent to offshore drilling – calling repeatedly for no drilling off of SC’s coast. Finally, he has been a consistent champion of land protection and the Conservation Bank, knowing that the best way to prevent congestion and flooding is by balancing development with protection of the areas that make the Lowcountry unique.
- Rep. William Cogswell (R-Charleston) has been a strong supporter of the rights of citizens to a clean and healthy environment, fighting rollbacks to environmental protections, and working to stop dangerous and dirty offshore drilling. Working across the aisle, he has supported proactive policies that move our state forward – including the Conservation Bank, energy reform, and clean energy options. A strong proponent of reform efforts in Columbia, Rep. Cogswell has pushed for a constitutional convention that would establish a better balance of power between the executive and legislative branches in South Carolina. And, finally, he led efforts to free up local funds to fix drainage and flooding issues in Charleston and other coastal communities as well as secure state and federal flooding relief for Charleston – a huge need as our coastal communities continue to experience flooding and sea level rise.
- Rep. Laurie Funderburk (D-Camden) was elected in 2004 and has been an advocate for protecting the air, land, and water of our state ever since. She has an outstanding 93% on CVSC’s conservation scorecard, including a 109% in 2018. Among her conservation priorities has been supporting the historic 2016 shoreline protection efforts, fighting for plastic and pollution reduction policies, speaking out against offshore drilling, and working to improve coal ash disposal. She has also been a key ally in the fight for clean energy in the 2018 session as well pushing back against efforts to weaken core environmental protections for communities throughout the state as a member of the House Judiciary committee. For her consistent and passionate work for conservation issues, she was honored by CVSC with a Green Tie Award in 2012.
- Rep. Russell Ott (D-St. Matthews) Alongside his strong and vocal support for solar growth this past session, Ott served as the lead sponsor of successful legislation that will allow solar companies to designate sites as “pollinator and bird friendly” by providing native plants and other habitat enhancements for birds, bees, and other key species. Ott also worked to increase transparency and accountability in the energy sector by advocating for the creation of a utility consumer advocate position who will to look after the best interest of ratepayers in utility regulation decision making. In addition, Ott spoke out against offshore drilling consistently during last session, serving as the lead sponsor of 3 anti-drilling resolutions, cosponsoring one additional resolution, and being a key ally on a special House committee on offshore drilling. As part of the House Agriculture committee, Ott also played an important role in maintaining important shoreline protections that were established in 2016.
These are just a few of the candidates we have endorsed in races across the state. Visit our endorsement page to see endorsed candidates in your area. Please also check out our scorecard to see how your House member has voted on conservation issues. Elections are the ultimate accountability tool and your voice creates the future of South Carolina! Put November 6 on your calendar to go out and VOTE!