Founding Father finds an advocate
Someone has to stick up for James Madison, a largely forgotten Founding Father. And even though she’s only in high school, Hadley Nagel decided it would be her.
“I feel a lot of people have neglected him. There are big monuments for Washington or Jefferson, but none for Madison,” said Nagel, a 17-year-old senior at Nightingale-Bamford in New York City.
Her goal? A national memorial for Madison in Washington, D.C. Nagel, now a registered lobbyist, started her campaign as part of a high school leadership project last year and plans to continue to do so into her college days.
“I decided to register because I saw how effective they were. It seemed like the next logical step,” said Nagel.
She has had some success. Rep. Baron Hill (D-Ind.) introduced a bill last summer calling for a Madison memorial. Rep. Brian Baird (D-Wash.) joined as a co-sponsor later that year.
Nagel has not made it down to Washington recently, but makes phone calls and sends e-mails to Capitol Hill aides to lobby for the bill. Right now, she is looking for a Senate champion to take up Madison’s cause.
Nagel’s lobbying effort includes an educational campaign to get the word out about Madison, who is sometimes referred to as the Father of the Constitution.
She started a nonprofit group called for Americans for Madison, and convinced several prominent historians to sit on the group’s advisory board.
In addition, Nagel will be at James Madison’s lifelong home in Montpelier, Va., on Wednesday to celebrate Constitution Day. She has also helped organize an event with the New York Historical Society this October to discuss Madison.
“I am definitely going to continue to follow this,” Nagel said. “If and when the bill is passed, I will follow up on the educational side because there is such a need for information.”
A Green Divide
Environmental groups were split over whether to support an energy bill crafted by House Democratic leaders, which was headed into a vote Tuesday evening.
While opposition to the expansion of offshore drilling was universal, groups like the Sierra Club, Natural Resources Defense Council, and the League of Conservation Voters saw redemption in the bill’s support for a renewable electricity production mandate and other green energy initiatives.
Athan Manuel of the Sierra Club called the Democratic bill “comprehensive,” and “much, much better” than the bill offered by Republicans, which would open significantly more areas offshore to oil and gas production.
But Environment America urged members to “vigorously oppose” even the Democratic bill. “America needs real solutions to our energy crisis,” the letter states.
The National Audubon Society didn’t think much of it, either, saying in a press release that the clean energy provisions weren’t enough to make up for the potential environmental harm from allowing more drilling off the nation’s coasts.
“There’s too much squeeze for the juice,” said Mike Daulton, a lobbyist for Audubon.
The oil industry, meanwhile, opposed the House bill for different reasons. Lee Fuller, vice president of government affairs for the Independent Petroleum Association of America, criticized the Democrats’ bill for blocking additional access to the eastern Gulf of Mexico. Oil companies think the area is relatively rich in oil reserves compared to other areas offshore. Plus, the Eastern Gulf is close to existing oil and gas infrastructure along the Gulf Coast, making development there cheaper than in new areas in the Atlantic, for instance.
Fuller also said the bill should offer states a share of the royalties as an inducement to allowing drilling off their shores. Environmental groups, however, universally oppose royalty-sharing.