14th District candidates agree: Global warming is real
All the Democratic candidates for the 14th Congressional District agree global warming is real and humans are a contributor. They emphasized different points of the issue when asked how to address the problem at a candidates forum this week in Naperville.
There are seven candidates vying to replace incumbent Republican Randy Hultgren this November.
Jim Walz logged an unsuccessful bid to unseat Hultgren two years ago as the Democratic nominees. He said America must move toward reducing its dependence on fossil fuels. He said global warming has an impact on both health and people's finances.
"If you look at all the devastating hurricanes and wildfires we've had, people not only lost their jobs and homes; people lost their health insurance as well," Walz said. "That is all a result of dependence on fossil fuels."
George Weber places climate change among four topics he described as "easily solvable problems." They are easy to solve, he said, because there are known causes. Weber said he will support the formation of a national carbon tax.
"A lot of countries are already implementing a carbon tax," Weber said. "California has had one for more than 10 years. Yet, the federal government doesn't want to do that. That, to me, is outrageous."
Lauren Underwood said addressing global warming begins with undoing the actions of President Donald Trump that she believes make the problem worse. She highlighted a Trump budget proposal to cut funding for the Environmental Protection Agency by one-third.
"It's the role of Congress to get rid of that type of a budgetary request and look out for the American people," Underwood said. "We saw President Trump recklessly remove us from participation in (the Paris climate accord). If we want to have any chance at slowing down the rate of pollution we need Congress to step forward and legislate."
Victor Swanson said he would also support signing onto the Paris climate accord, the establishment of a carbon tax and full funding for the EPA.
"The EPA cannot enforce all the regulations without a full budget," Swanson said. "We need to stop allowing coal companies to dump their water in the watersheds."
Matt Brolley said, in addition to supporting the Paris climate accord, lawmakers need to take another look at a system that subsidizes the oil and gas industry with billions of dollars while funneling a relative pittance to renewable energy. Brolley pointed to his work as mayor of Montgomery, which involved permitting residence to install solar panels and wind turbines as well as signing onto a municipal-level agreement that mimics the sentiments of the Paris climate accord.
John Hosta said the United States is about 75 years behind the times when it comes to its overall energy policy. He pledged to modernize the system.
"We have the technology today to get rid of fossil fuels," Hosta said. "Our energy system is completely controlled by corporations. I cannot believe the types of vehicles that we drive. Even battery-operated vehicles are antiquated in terms of where we should be."
Daniel Roldan-Johnson was not present at the forum. He has a five-point plan on his website for energy reform. The plan includes shifting energy subsidies to renewables, building small, localized smart grids to lower costs, modernization of coal plants, promoting energy-efficient appliances, light bulbs, cars and buildings, and encouraging the proliferation of electronic vehicle charging stations.