Posted on behalf of Katie Chin, New Media Coordinator of Students for a Just and Stable Future
On this historic 40th anniversary of Earth Day, participants in The Leadership Campaign have once again reminded us all of the courage necessary to create the just and stable future called for in 1970. The Leadership Campaign is a Massachusetts coalition of students, community members, and members of the faith community. Together they have introduced legislation demanding that Massachusetts create a plan to reach 100% clean electricity by 2020. Since the introduction of “An Act to Create A Repower Massachusetts Emergency Task Force” on December 7, 2010 the campaign has worked diligently towards gaining support throughout the state for this bold and important bill.
Currently the bill is held up in the House Committee on Rules, headed by Representative John Binienda. Representative Binienda has the power to release the bill. He has claimed that he supports the goal of 100% clean electricity by 2020, but has nonetheless been blocking the bill and thus has prevented it from receiving a fair hearing. Today, the campaign conducted a stand-in direct action.
At eleven o’clock this morning, a group of students walked into Binienda’s office and told his staff that they were not leaving until the Representative explained why he has failed to release the bill, despite claiming to support the bill’s goal. Every fifteen minutes, more students joining those already in his office, escalating the pressure and attracting statehouse media to the scene.
After one round of students was peacefully escorted out the office by security, a second round of students immediately re-entered his office. Eventually, Craig Altemose, Coordinator of The Leadership Campaign, was able to speak with Binienda on the phone. Below is the video of their conversation. Binenda said he would release the bill but did not give a time frame.
At the same time, Jamaica Kelley, the organization’s State Legislative Coordinator, met with Speaker Robert Deleo and his constituents from the First Church of Winthrop. Speaker Deleo is also an important target related to the success of the bill on the House side. In the meeting, the Speaker stated that he wants Massachusetts to be a leader on climate issues. We will find out this afternoon if he’s actually willing to push the bill.
Members of The Leadership Campaign are now meeting to discuss what to do next. Check out our blog for an update on the current status of our bill and the live blog taken during the morning lobby efforts of earth day.
Video: Conversation with Binienda