North Carolina Elected Leaders to Congress: Pass Biden’s American Jobs Plan
32 state and local officials sign letter calling for clean energy, jobs, justice, and climate action to be at the core of federal economic recovery and infrastructure bill
RALEIGH, N.C.— On the eve of Earth Day, three weeks after President Biden announced the American Jobs Plan, state and local officials across North Carolina are calling on Congress to pass an economic recovery plan centered around clean energy, climate, justice, and good-paying union jobs. In a letter (PDF) organized by the national League of Conservation Voters, Climate Power, and state Leagues of Conservation Voters across the country, including NCLCV, 32 North Carolina signers asked congressional leaders to “seize a once-in-a-generation opportunity to help our communities recover by creating and sustaining millions of good paying jobs, putting us on the path to 100% clean energy, and building a more equitable and just society.”
“The president’s plan will allow us to finally address the intersecting health, economic, and climate crises we face. As we recover from COVID, now is the time for millions of people to get back to work, with new, high-quality union jobs in a clean energy economy,” said NCLCV Executive Director Carrie Clark. “We don’t have to choose between a healthy environment and a healthy economy. This is a fight that unites the environmental and labor communities and the overwhelming majority of voters. We call on our congressional delegation to quickly pass this plan to Build Back Better with justice and equity.”
North Carolina’s signers include Raleigh Mayor Mary-Ann Baldwin, Carrboro Mayor Lydia Lavelle, City Council members from Raleigh and Charlotte, Wake and Buncombe County Commissioners, 15 state representatives, and seven state senators.
Among the legislators is Rep. Ricky Hurtado, who flipped a rural Alamance County seat last year with NCLCV’s support. The seat had long been held by Steve Ross, one of LCV’s Dirty Dozen in the States. “Investing in clean energy and targeting investments in communities of color is a moral and economic imperative for North Carolina,” said Hurtado. “It’s a winning strategy when we center the people most impacted in our state by harmful environmental policy. We know North Carolinians who live in some of the poorest counties of the state and have carried the burden of environmental racism are on the front lines of climate change — it’s time for them to be part of the solution and be at the forefront of clean energy investment.”
“I am thrilled to support the American Jobs Plan, and I am calling on our state’s two senators and 13 representatives to vote in favor of this transformational plan. President Biden’s plan will have a tremendous impact here in Charlotte, especially in the areas of clean energy and climate justice, and this plan will provide high-paying jobs to our residents,” said Charlotte City Councilmember Dimple Ajmera, who led the bipartisan adoption of Charlotte’s Strategic Energy Action Plan (SEAP), the city’s first-ever framework to transition to a low-carbon future. “As Charlotte continues to grow and bring new industries and jobs to our great city, it is critical that communities of color and young people are not left behind. The American Jobs Plan will ensure that residents here in Charlotte have access to great jobs while also giving them access to healthcare, housing opportunities, and the ability to raise their families right here in the Queen City.”
These North Carolina champions are among 1,266 signers representing all 50 states and Washington, D.C., who signed the letter to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, and House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy. 380 NCLCV members have also sent their members of Congress emails urging their support for the plan.
“This many signers from every corner of the country is the clearest call yet that state and local leaders have waited long enough for a real recovery plan that tackles climate change and invests in clean energy jobs,” said Gene Karpinski, President of LCV. “They know we have a once-in-a-generation chance to fix our broken infrastructure. We can put millions back to work in new good-paying, union jobs in the clean energy economy that address the climate crisis, decades of pollution, and environmental injustice. Congress should heed this clarion call for transformational action.”
The American Jobs Plan has strong bipartisan support — 70% of voters in nine swing states, including North Carolina, support the proposal after hearing details. Specific environmental and infrastructure policies in the plan, including investing in modernizing our outdated and dangerous electrical grid and expanding rural broadband, are overwhelmingly popular. More than 80% of voters support eliminating all lead pipes in our drinking water systems, and 70% of all voters support investing in clean energy generation and storage, like solar panels and wind turbines. In North Carolina specifically, about 75% want to eliminate emissions (PDF) from power plants, factories, and transportation by 2050.
The letter calls on Congress to focus an infrastructure plan on three major principles, all outlined in President Biden’s American Jobs Plan:
- Put the U.S. on the path to 100% clean energy, powering everything from our electricity grid, transportation, and buildings with reliable, affordable clean energy.
- Promote equity by ensuring at least 40% of benefits go to the communities who need it most, prioritizing just and equitable solutions being led by low-income communities and communities of color most harmed by toxic pollution and climate change.
- Incentivize high-quality, good-paying union jobs, especially in the domestic clean energy and manufacturing sectors, while supporting communities historically reliant on oil, gas, and coal jobs.
“Together we can meet this historic moment and ensure this recovery delivers on the promise to build back better,” the letter says.
The North Carolina League of Conservation Voters (NCLCV) is a pragmatic, results-oriented, nonpartisan advocacy organization whose mission is to protect the health and quality of life for all North Carolinians. We elect environmental champions, advocate for environmental policies that protect our communities, and hold elected leaders accountable for their decisions. We have worked for over 50 years to create the political environment that will protect our natural environment.