IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Next targets announced in Michigan LCV’s accountability program

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LANSING, MI – To keep constituents informed about what is really happening in Lansing, the Michigan League of Conservation Voters (LCV) announced its next set of targets in its online accountability and field operation campaign today. They are state Representatives Paul Opsommer (R-DeWitt) and Rick Jones (R-Grand Ledge).

“We’re doing what most environmental groups cannot do, which is call attention to environmental voting records,” said Executive Director Lisa Wozniak. “While both Representatives have taken strong stands on some key natural resources and public health issues, they have also cast a number of key anti-environmental votes over the last two years. As a result, both representatives have, at best, mixed records on protecting Michigan’s magnificent places. We are here to let the Representatives know that Michigan’s citizens are watching them. We remain vigilant about our clean energy future, children’s health, and protecting our water.”

Michigan LCV has been tracking all of Lansing’s elected officials for over ten years and each legislative session publishes the Michigan Environmental Scorecard as a way to monitor performance on key issues, like Great Lakes, children’s health and clean renewable energy. The next scorecard will be released in coming weeks. In the meantime, to keep citizens informed, Michigan LCV has created two new websites: www.eyeonopsommer.com and www.eyeonjones.com as online resources for constituents.

Deputy Director Kerry Duggan said, “Along with the new websites, we are out in both districts today armed with facts about the disparity between the Representatives’ words and votes. It is absolutely critical to our economic vitality that we have elected officials in Lansing who recognize the genuine connection between our state’s economic and environmental health, and a consistent pro-environment vote.” These sites are part of an on-going effort to keep citizens constantly informed of the actions of elected officials, and the effects those actions have on Michigan’s natural resources. Michigan LCV has already released two sites, www.eyeonbishop.com and www.eyeonmayes.com, focused on Senator Mike Bishop and Representative Jeff Mayes, respectively. “

“Based on Senator Bishop’s and Representative Mayes’ reaction to the websites, it is apparent that elected officials do not like their records to be scrutinized,” said Duggan. “We just hope that going forward, Representative Opsommer and Representative Jones will actually read the websites. They’ll find that our focus is not to attack anyone, rather give credit where credit is due while remaining dedicated to telling the whole story.”

Rep. Opsommer’s record is inconsistent. When you go online, you’ll see that he has been good on energy efficiency while at the same time pushing for coal plants. He voted for the Great Lakes Compact, but against water conservation (and has been largely absent on the Asian Carp issue). He serves as Vice Chair of the Transportation Committee, but is not taking a leadership position on desperately needed public transportation. He has been good on some children’s health votes, except when it comes to lead. While we are grateful to Rep. Opsommer for his vote to protect Michigan’s most vulnerable citizen’s from some toxic chemicals, when polled Michigan citizens consistently voice concern for the next generation, wanting their children and grandchildren to have clean lakes and rivers to play in and jobs to keep them in Michigan. Rep. Opsommer earned a 43% Michigan LCV score on the 2007-08 Michigan Environmental Scorecard.



Rep. Jones’ record is equally as haphazard. While he has been outspoken on the Asian Carp and the conservation of our land, he has voted against several bills that seek to conserve and protect our water and stop harmful water withdrawals and keep it clean, despite his position on the Great Lakes and Environment Committee. Rep. Jones has also made a number of anti-environmental statements in relation to dirty coal-burning power plants, and he is against increasing the surcharge on out-of-state trash being imported into Michigan landfills. Rep. Jones earned a 43% Michigan LCV score on the 2007-08 Michigan Environmental Scorecard.

“Our message to both gentleman is simple: a mixed record such as theirs does not indicate – in any real way – a commitment to either support of a clean energy economy (that will grow new jobs in Michigan) or protection of our Great Lakes from a variety of threats”, said Duggan. “In short, those whom we elect to office need to know that their votes speak louder than their words and consistency matters.”

Michigan LCV will be carefully monitoring Rep. Opsommer’s and Rep. Jones’ records and encourage citizens to review the 2009-2010 Michigan Environmental Scorecard once it is released in May for the full story behind our legislature’s activities this past legislative session. Michigan LCV’s accountability program provides constituents objective information about their elected leaders. The websites and field program focus on activities related to clean energy job creation and environmental protection, two key components of an economic recovery and a vibrant Michigan future.

Contact: Kerry Duggan, (734) 846-0093 or kerry@archive2016.michiganlcv.org