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Dem govs: Green energy plans will help our nominee

Dem govs: Green energy plans will help our nominee
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A pair of Democratic governors and climate activists are encouraging the party’s presidential candidates to focus on green energy as a way to win votes in next year’s election. 

Ahead of Tuesday night’s first Democratic presidential debate, the officials said a plan to boost the American clean energy sector could be a winning issue for the party’s nominee. 

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“Although this is a Democratic debate, we know that people of all stripes will be watching,” Gov. Jay InsleeJay Robert InsleeOVERNIGHT ENERGY: Nine, including former Michigan governor, charged over Flint water crisis | Regulator finalizes rule forcing banks to serve oil, gun companies | Trump admin adds hurdle to increase efficiency standards for furnaces, water heaters Legislatures boost security after insurrection, FBI warnings Eight governors call on feds to immediately send out vaccine doses now in reserve MORE (D-Wash.) said on a call with reporters. 

“And Republican voters today — voters, maybe not public officials — accept the need to deal with this threat of carbon pollution.”

Climate activists have pushed Democratic candidates — especially front-runner Hillary Clinton — to move left on climate issues. Clinton’s top rivals — Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders (I) and former Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley (D) — have looked to do the same and burnish their green credentials along the way. 

But Democrats say their candidates need to do more than just publicly oppose the Keystone XL pipeline or drilling in the Arctic, as all three have done. 

“We need much more to develop the jobs that are inherent in a clean energy economy other than the negative of not building a pipeline,” Inslee said. 

“We need to find economic messages, incentives and a leveling of the playing field between fossil fuels and new energy technologies by adopting some measures of restriction of carbon pollution that will inspire, enable and help finance the new systems of energy.”

Tom SteyerTom SteyerOn The Trail: The political losers of 2020 Biden Cabinet picks largely unify Democrats — so far Late donor surges push election spending projections to new heights MORE, the president of NextGen Climate, said polling has shown support for more renewable energy use among battleground state voters, something he said Democrats should advantage of. 

“Clean energy is the ultimate growth strategy for our economy," he said. "Seizing on this growth strategy is the ultimate opportunity for the Democratic Party, especially this year.”

Steyer has spent millions of dollars from his fortune trying to elevate climate change to a top political issue. Much of that funding has gone toward helping Democratic candidates.

In the first two GOP presidential debates, Republicans fielded few questions on climate change. Democrats hope that changes when their candidates take the stage. 

“I’m most interested in understanding how the candidates view dealing with climate change within their broader economic development approach,” Gov. Jack Markell (D-Del.) said. 

“For too long, climate change has been an issue that’s only been talked about as an environmental issue. It’s so much more than that.”