Protecting the Environment

I’m running to be your Governor to bring back hope that we’ll all be able to breathe clean air, drink clean water, and leave a healthy planet to our children.

If there is any issue that should transcend party lines, it is the environment. We all breathe the same air, drink the same water, and enjoy the beauty of our mountains, oceans, and rivers. We all want our children and future generations to have a safe place to live.

I grew up surrounded by the beauty of North Georgia, at the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains. I remember hiking the trails, exploring the forests and fishing the lakes and rivers. Georgia is a beautiful, rugged and special place, and I will fight to preserve it for my daughter and for all of our children.

No matter where you live in Georgia, climate change and other environmental threats are already affecting your life, and these threats will only intensify with each passing year. Urban areas such as Atlanta will see extreme heat, intense bursts of flooding and decreased water supply. Southern parts of the state are susceptible to drought. And coastal areas are faced with rising sea levels. The Chattahoochee River, which winds across our state and provides water to around four million people, is threatened by decreased rainfall and increasing temperatures.

And, as is often the case, it is the least fortunate and most vulnerable among us who will be the hardest hit. It is the same folks we too often leave behind in our economy, in our educational system, and in healthcare, that will be most affected by climate change and environmental threats. Working-class communities often cannot afford to move or evacuate during weather disasters. The every-day Georgian is more likely to work outside in the rising heat, and may struggle to pay their air conditioning bills. And pollution in these communities leads to health problems, like asthma, that are compounded by the refusal of our state legislature to expand Medicaid.

Protecting the environment is something we must do to keep faith with future generations, but it is also good business. Contrary to the rhetoric of some powerful special interests, a healthy planet and a healthy economy are not mutually exclusive. By investing in clean-energy jobs and transportation, we can protect the environment while simultaneously creating good-paying jobs. By innovating and coming together around common sense policies, we can grow our economy and make Georgia a national leader in renewable energy production.

As your Governor, I will join the rapidly growing list of more than 1,000 mayors, governors, university presidents, and business leaders who have pledged to meet our country’s commitment to fight climate change. I will also work to make Georgia a leader in innovation, starting with my “20-20 Vision”, an initiative for our state to become the second greatest producer of new solar capacity by the year 2020. I believe in a Georgia that leads on the difficult issues, a Georgia that other states look to as an example. Our state has the people, resources and resilience to lead the way on the environment—and we must do so for the reputation of our state, and for the future of our people.

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