Rep. Joe Neguse throws support behind Green New Deal to address climate change, economic inequality
February 9, 2019
Congress swore in 89 new members of the House of Representatives last month, and the freshmen legislators have hit the ground running. Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortex, D-Bronx, by far the most prominent rookie in this class, started her second month in Congress by introducing a radically ambitious "Green New Deal," which has the backing of the 2nd Congressional District's own Rep. Joe Neguse.
The ambitious plan came in the form of House Resolution 11, titled, "Recognizing the duty of the Federal Government to create a Green New Deal." The 14-page proclamation of fossil fuel independence calls for a radical transformation of the American economy to tackle both climate change and economic inequality.
The Green New Deal calls for a massive mobilization of federal, state and local resources to create a green manufacturing economy, similar in many ways to President Franklin D. Roosevelt's sweeping New Deal legislation and associated federal programs created during the Great Depression.
The resolution is chock-full of progressive ideals and demands for socioeconomic reform, including providing for equal and fair treatment of underserved populations such as the working poor, underrepresented and underprivileged minorities, indigenous peoples, the elderly, the disabled and rural communities.
Speaking to the Summit Daily Thursday while winding through the halls of the Capitol on his way to a floor vote, Neguse noted that he was one of the first legislators to get on board and one of the original cosponsors of the Green New Deal. Neguse, who has been selected to serve on the House Judiciary and Natural Resources committees, was also appointed Thursday to select on the House Select Committee on Climate Crisis, one of eight Democrats appointed to the panel by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.
Neguse said his priority on the climate crisis panel is to showcase the real-world impacts climate change is having on the 2nd Congressional District.
"I am looking forward to lifting the voices of the people of Summit County who have been impacted by climate change in a real visceral way," Neguse said. "It gives our state, our district and certainly Summit County a great platform to shine a light and show how acutely folks are feeling the impacts of climate change."
His embrace of the Green New Deal is similarly based on its vision of addressing the real impacts felt by resort communities like Summit because of warming temperatures, increasingly violent weather and shorter winters.
Neguse said the unique aspect of this Green New Deal that impressed him most is its emphasis on giving regular people "a spot at the table" in the proposed massive economic transition, trying to ensure regular working folks and other "frontline communities" to the crisis do not disproportionately suffer from the fallout of lost fossil fuel-based jobs and industry.
"The Green New Deal outlines a way forward in transitioning to 100 percent renewable energy, and in so doing leverages the ingenuity and the skill of the American workforce to be part of that transition," Neguse said. "Essentially, it's making sure folks aren't left behind as we transition to renewable energy."
Neguse said that the ambitious proposal has gained the support of at least 60 other Democrats in their caucus. However, the plan's grand agenda with a lack of specific mechanisms by which to implement it has drawn scorn and derision. Even Speaker Pelosi appeared to dismiss the plan', referring to it as "the Green Dream, or whatever they're calling it" in a recent interview.
However, it is clear with the massive wave of fresh, young faces in Congress that young voters are making themselves heard. Within weeks of being sworn in, Ocasio-Cortez, 29, and Neguse, 34, have already drawn significant buzz and gained political clout, with long careers projected ahead of them.