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Environmental Lobby Day

Youth Climate Lobby Day and Environmental Lobby Day push forward key legislation

Youth Climate Lobby Day brought out 176 young people from 11 different climate advocacy organizations to the steps of the State Capitol. It poured rain, just like last year’s Youth Climate Lobby Day, but the downpour didn’t dampen the enthusiasm of students who gathered from across the state. Many of the students were too young to vote or drive, but they still made it out to lobby for the future of their environment. 

Four of the students arrived together from the 44th legislative district (LD). They all knew each other from a YMCA Youth Legislature program where they run for office, write bills, research policies, and lobby their own youth delegates in a mock system nearly identical to the activity inside the State Capitol. The students came prepared with impressive backgrounds. Elena, 16, serves as vice president of the YMCA Mill Creek delegation of Youth & Government. Terra, 16, chairs the Everett Youth Advisory Board for Mayor Cassie Franklin and is the youngest member of the Snohomish County Young Democrats. Gabe, 16, is active in the YMCA Youth & Government program as well as Mock Trial, and Ryan, 14, serves as secretary of the YMCA Mill Creek delegation of Youth & Government and is a Model UN member.

Each of these students had researched, debated, and lobbied their youth legislators on the environmental bills they were most passionate about, so when it came time to ask Senator Steve Hobbs to support the Clean Fuels Standard, HB1110, they came prepared. 

Elena, Terra, Gabe and Ryan speak with Senator Steve Hobbs about the Clean Fuels Standard

After a full day of scheduled constituent meetings with legislators, the students got a surprise invitation to meet with Governor Jay Inslee! It was the highlight of the day.

Students from Youth Lobby Day with Governor Jay Inslee

A week after Youth Lobby Day, the Environmental Priorities Coalition (EPC) held Environmental Lobby Day, turning out over 375 people and more than 60 Auduboners. Audubon WA Campaigns Manager, Adam Maxwell, led an in-depth policy overview of HB 1110, the Clean Fuel Standard, and Field Organizer Ben Silesky led a workshop on organizing community support for legislative priorities. 

For one woman from the 5th district, Lobby Day was her first time at the Capitol. She had great meetings with her legislators whom she’d just met for the first time, and she later attended a workshop on community organizing. “I decided that the year 2020 was finally the year I would get involved in taking action on these issues rather than sitting on the sidelines” she said. She met another couple from her district and they have since become good friends. Lately they’ve kept up the momentum from Lobby Day by meeting regularly to strategize outreach to more community groups, businesses, and individuals for support for our climate priorities.

If you couldn’t join us in Olympia this year, you can still follow along by signing up for our weekly legislative updates where we send you the latest developments on priority environmental legislation and send you targeted action alerts at key times to get these bills passed. 

Organizations are effective when they can quickly call up the power of their membership to take a specific, timely action. Join the environmental movement led by the students from the Youth Legislature, the Environmental Priorities Coalition, and Audubon, and sign up for action alerts! 

Photo: Neal Anderson
 

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