HARRISBURG, PA - Leading environmental advocacy group Conservation Voters of PA (CVPA) has launched a massive statewide campaign designed to flip the Pennsylvania General Assembly to a pro-environment majority in the upcoming election. In the largest state-level electoral campaign by an environmental group in Pennsylvania’s history, CVPA will invest more than $971,000 to support candidates who are committed to ensuring our state’s families can breathe clean air and drink safe water.
CVPA’s Victory Fund plans to invest more than $831,000 through an independent expenditure to elect pro-environment candidates to the state legislature in swing districts across the commonwealth. The organization plans to make 2.3 million contacts with voters in 19 state House of Representatives races and three state Senate races. The organization’s state PAC will spend an additional $140,000 on contributions directly to candidates’ campaigns.
CVPA’s plan seizes on the increasing focus on environmental issues among Pennsylvania’s voters. Depending on where they live, Pennsylvanians already face some of the worst air in America and a strong chance that their water is contaminated with PFAS, lead, fracking fluid, fertilizer, or mine runoff. Next week, the House seeks to make that problem worse as it considers a bill to let potential polluters choose whether or not to report spills to the Department of Environmental Protection. Earlier this summer, the Legislature voted to hamstring the Department of Environmental Protection and to give $670 million in tax breaks to prop up the giant gas companies that fund many of their campaigns.
"Voters have watched our elected officials side with corporate polluters over their own constituents time after time," said CVPA Executive Director Josh McNeil. "This election is our chance to finally elect leaders who will put our health and safety first."
CVPA’s 2020 election plan builds off investments in recent elections that helped elect a new generation of environmental leaders. In 2018, joint CVPA investment of $292,000 in state legislative races sent a wave of 11 new pro-environment candidates to Harrisburg.
In 2019, CVPA spent $250,000 to help propel Marian Moskowitz and Josh Maxwell to the Chester County Board of Commissioners. This represents the first time in history that Democrats have controlled the county, and CVPA’s investment was the largest amount spent by an issue-advocacy organization in that election. That same year, the organization was an early investor in Jamie Gauthier, who became the first professional conservationist ever elected to Philadelphia’s City Council.
“The candidates we support are already talking about the environmental issues that impact their communities,” McNeil said. “Our investment will help them make their case to voters and ensure that the environment climbs to the top of the agenda in Harrisburg in time to help address the global climate crisis and to save lives here in PA.”
CVPA’s 2020 investments target races in 13 counties across the commonwealth and include plans for phone banking, text messaging, multiple mailings and robust digital advertising.
CVPA will support the following candidates through its Conservation Voters of PA Victory Fund in November:
- HD-13 (Chester/Lancaster) – Richard Ruggieri
- HD-18 (Bucks) — Harold Hayes
- HD-26 (Chester/Montgomery) — Paul Friel
- HD-28 (Allegheny) — Emily Skopov
- HD-29 (Bucks) — Marlene Katz
- HD-30 (Allegheny) — Lissa Shulman
- HD-44 (Allegheny) — Michele Knoll
- HD-87 (Cumberland) — Nicole Miller
- HD-88 (Cumberland) — Tara Shakespeare
- HD-105 (Dauphin) — Brittney Rodas
- HD-106 (Dauphin) — Lindsay Drew
- HD-131 (Lehigh/Montgomery/Northampton) — Kevin Branco
- HD-144 (Bucks) — Gary Spillane
- HD-147 (Montgomery) — Jill Dennin
- HD-151 (Montgomery) — Jonathan Kassa
- HD-156 (Chester) — Diane Herrin
- HD-160 (Chester/Delaware) — Anton Andrew
- HD-176 (Monroe) — Claudette Williams
- HD-178 (Bucks) — Ann Mitchell
- SD-13 (Lancaster) — Janet Diaz
- SD-15 (Dauphin/Perry) — George Scott
- SD-49 (Erie) — Julie Slomski