Environmental activists took to street corners and hosted a town hall Thursday to protest Republican U.S. Sen. Martha McSally’s inaction on climate change.
Tempe Vice Mayor Lauren Kuby appeared in Tempe alongside organizers at the town hall to demand Sen. McSally get behind clean energy jobs in the state. The town hall and press conference were held by Mom’s Clean Air Force, Mi Familia Vota and the Sierra Club.
“We’re calling on Senator McSally to follow the lead of Arizona youth and commit to full climate action in the senate,” Kuby said. “We are simply asking Senator McSally to do her job and help us to protect our environment, realign our economy, and prepare our state for a drier, warmer future.”
Following Kuby’s comments, a tearful Columba Sainz, the lead organizer present for Mom’s Clean Air Force, urged McSally to support decisive action on climate policy for the sake of future generations’ air quality.
“What kind of world are we going to be leaving for him,” Sainz said, pointing to her infant son, “and for his children and grandchildren?”
Arlinda Bajrami, an organizer with Mi Familia Vota, spoke about environmental justice.
“Our low-income and communities-of-color bear the greatest burden of climate change,” she said.
Bajrami admonished Sen. McSally for not meeting with Mi Familia Vota or attending any of the groups’ town halls.
McSally’s office did not respond to requests for comment.
McSally has been criticized in the past for her failure to support policies aimed at curbing climate change. The League of Conservation Voters lists her as one of the 2018’s “Dirty Dozen” politicians: the 12 members most friendly with polluter industries, such as oil and gas extraction.
In Arizona, these land transfers often take the form of leases to oil, gas and mining companies.
McSally’s likely opponent in the general election is retired astronaut Mark Kelly, who has spoken publicly in favor of investing in Arizona’s green energy sector.
“Mark has seen the planet change from space, and wanting to stop that and protect our state and our planet is part of what inspired him to run,” according to Kelly’s campaign site.