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It’s time to outnumber paid lobbyists

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In a few weeks, I will be walking the halls of Congress, knocking on the doors of my elected officials, and sitting down to discuss legislation to stop climate pollution.

This is not my day job. Most of the time I can be found running my small business and taking care of my family.

But where I live in Bigfork, I’ve seen more smoky days due to more frequent wildfires. I know the problem needs to be solved to ensure that the people I love are safe from the harm that comes with breathing bad air.

A recent CBS News poll found that 70% of participants supported the US taking steps to reduce climate change. Yet many of our elected officials are not moving quickly enough to implement solutions to reduce climate pollution, and we risk owning climate change. passing on a polluted planet to our children.

That’s why I decided to learn to become a citizen lobbyist. To meet with lawmakers about policies that benefit everyday people and ensure a healthy, stable future for our children and grandchildren to enjoy.

The fossil fuel industry has known for years about the economic and pollution damage of its products. But it becomes more than $600 billion in subsidies annually while raking in record-breaking profits.

How? By lobbying legislators for policies that favor their causes. The oil and gas industry spent approximately $124.4 million lobbying the federal government in 2022 (OpenSecrets analysis). Meanwhile, at least 2,400 fossil fuel representatives and lobbyists attended COP 28 last November, an international conference intended to spur climate action.

It makes sense that every company or industry would want to protect its interests – but ignoring the harm in favor of profit is not good for America, and as a Christian I feel a duty to care for creation. Our legislators shouldn’t just hear from the industry. That’s why I’m going to Capitol Hill on June 11, along with nearly a thousand other citizen lobbyists from all fifty states.

We cannot be passive spectators. As citizens who want a livable world for future generations, we must hold our elected officials accountable and focus on policies that help people.

I and other Montanans will be meeting with the offices of Senators Steve Daines and Jon Tester and Representatives Ryan Zinke and Matt Rosendale and asking them to support common-sense climate policies that improve our lives.

I’m talking about transformative legislation that would reduce climate pollution and improve our air quality, protect our state from extreme weather made worse by an overheated climate, help Montanans lower their energy bills and ensure we have access to clean, reliable and affordable domestic energy.

I love where I live. I have fond memories of enjoying days in nature without having to breathe dangerous, smoke-filled air. I want future generations to be able to experience Montana’s natural beauty without fear of getting sick.

Let’s make sure Congress hears more from everyday people and acts on our behalf, our families, and our future.