Thea Selby, Bilal Mahmood, David Campos and Matt Haney are running for State Assembly. Illustration by Molly Oleson.

California strives to be at the forefront of addressing climate change and also faces various environmental issues like droughts, fires, and rising sea levels. What do you believe are the most pressing issues and what actions will you take as an assemblymember to confront them?

David Campos, former Supervisor of San Francisco’s District 9:

The most pressing issue in our fight against climate change is politicians who say the right things but cave to special interests and sell out the future of our planet in exchange for massive campaign funding. 

We need an unprecedented investment in clean power, public transit, wildfire prevention, coastal resilience and green jobs. Believing we need those things is not unique. What sets me apart is that our campaign has not accepted a dollar from corporations or pro-fossil fuel interests. I can fight to ban fracking NOW and not worry about the backlash. You can trust that I will stand up to oil companies and demand they stop destroying the planet, prevent irresponsible developers from degrading our environment, won’t allow polluters to put their profits above the health of our communities. And that is why the Sierra Club solely endorsed our campaign.

Matt Haney, current Supervisor of San Francisco’s District 6:

Climate change is the greatest existential threat we face, and it is already impacting our daily lives. We can’t just pledge to take action by 2030 or 2040; the change has to start today. In the Assembly, I’m committed to: 

  • Passing a California Green New Deal that aggressively combats climate change and focuses on environmental justice for low-income and immigrant communities.
  • Fighting for unprecedented statewide investments in green infrastructure and sustainable transportation solutions such as charging stations, electric buses, protected bike lanes and commuter rail projects.
  • Completing the high-speed rail project and bringing high-speed rail to the Salesforce Transit Center with the downtown rail extension.
  • Reforming environmental laws currently abused in ways that stop clean energy and sustainable transit projects.
  • Investing in wildfire prevention measures, drought preparedness infrastructure and power grid upgrades to protect Californians from the worst effects of climate-related natural disasters.

Bilal Mahmood, neuroscientist and entrepreneur:

California struggles to make progress on addressing climate, due to cost and bureaucracy. It’s too costly to electrify homes for the average resident, and takes too long to build public transit. I have coauthored a Green New Deal for California, along with AOC’s former chief of staff, Saikat Chakrabarti, to address these challenges.

This includes a Green Production Board to set production targets on the number of affordable housing units, rapid bus transit, solar panels, etc the State must meet, and be granted the authority to cut any red tape necessary to meet those targets. It includes a California Public Bank to provide zero-percent-interest loans of up to $100,000 to individuals to purchase electric cars or bikes, and businesses to retrofit their infrastructure.

This approach will drive an influx of investment to transition California to a zero-carbon economy, and help us reach 1.5º celsius reduction by 2030.

Thea Selby, member of City College’s Board of Trustees

Reducing carbon emissions in California and the world is every government’s charge. In San Francisco, 47 percent of carbon emissions come from transportation. We cannot tackle climate change without dealing with this problem. I’ve been working on a progressive revenue-sourced transformative transportation measure to go on the ballot in 2024 to kick-start our green new deal. This will help us get folks out of their cars with reliable, affordable and accessible alternative transportation. We’ll need to author legislation — I’m ready to sponsor that as your assemblymember. I will also educate and work with assemblymembers to appropriate the remaining $4.2 billion we the people approved in 2008 as the downpayment for the first-in-America High-Speed Rail. We can leverage those funds with the federal infrastructure bill. 

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