Whether it’s the dense forests, rugged mountains or vast waterways, Michigan is home to some of most beautiful natural areas in the country, and a passionate population of outdoor enthusiasts. Additionally, severe flooding due to lake level rise and extreme storms have put Michigan on high alert, while air and water contamination due to industrialization are top of mind issues for Michiganders across the state.
In order to identify key congressional races in Michigan, POW Action Fund looked at where there are a larger number of climbing gyms, breweries, colleges, outdoor retailers and other aspects of strong outdoor recreation communities with congressional districts decided by less than 10 percent. Michigan had a number of districts that met these criteria, but most compelling to the organization were Michigan’s 3rd and 6th congressional districts, located in the southwestern corner of the state. While the area is considered one of the most conservative parts of the state, changing demographics, a booming outdoor recreation economy and close elections in 2018 made this district feel like fertile ground for POW Action Fund. Furthermore, the Michigan Senate race represents just one of two possible pick-ups for the GOP. Senator Gary Peters’ race has moved from “lean Democrat” to “toss-up” as he has seen his double-digit lead earlier in the year shrink to approximately 4 percent just 40 days before the election.
POW Action Fund endorsed Sen. Gary Peters. No endorsements were given for the two target congressional races, but get out the vote efforts in Grand Rapids and Kalamazoo are underway.
In 2009, Senator Peters supported the American Clean Energy and Security Act, which would have established a cap-and-trade system to limit greenhouse gas emissions. He referred to cap-and-trade as a “market-based solution” that’s “certainly something to take a look at.”
Senator Peters has not recently expressed his views on setting a price on carbon.
On transitioning to 100-percent carbon-free energy by 2050, Senator Peters has said, “We have to push the technology as aggressively as we can, but I believe that we can do that. We should look at this as an economic opportunity to drive our economy while also doing the right thing for the environment.”
Sen. Peters has supported increased funding for clean energy research and infrastructure. He also supported the extension of clean energy tax credits.
Senator Peters has repeatedly voted against the expansion of offshore drilling and has co-sponsored legislation to protect the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge from oil and gas exploration.
Senator Peters has worked extensively to protect the Great Lakes by securing funding for restoration projects and arguing for increased pipeline oversight and regulation, and as early as 1999 advocated for a Great Lakes drilling ban.
Senator Peters voted against the confirmation of both David Bernhardt and Andrew Wheeler.
Senator Peters co-sponsored legislation to expand the electric vehicle tax credit, which incentivizes the production and purchasing of zero-emission vehicles. He opposed Trump Administration efforts to eliminate the credit, saying that the expansion of the EV tax credit will “help Michigan stay at the forefront of global auto innovation, spur job growth, and move us toward a more sustainable and competitive transportation future.”
Senator Peter recognizes the impact that reducing emissions from the transportation sector can have in the transition to a carbon-neutral economy. He has said, “Michigan is uniquely positioned to lead the way in driving innovation in green energy technologies like electric vehicles and protecting our environment from the threat of climate change.”
“The American middle class was shaped in the 20th century by the mass production of combustion engine automobiles. A new generation of jobs and families will be supported by electric vehicles. Eliminating important economic incentives for electric vehicles would be a step in the wrong direction.”
Senator Peters also co-sponsored legislation that would promote investment in clean vehicle technology research.