Stacey Abrams part of new group targeting climate voters in Pa. in 2020 | Thursday Morning Coffee

May 14, 2020 7:11 am

Stacey Abrams speaking Saturday at Snellville’s Annistown Elementary to introduce her new voter registration initiative Fair Fight 2020. (Photo by Beau Evans for The Georgia Recorder)

Good Thursday Morning, Fellow Seekers.

Former Georgia gubernatorial candidate and Democratic rising star Stacey Abrams is among a high-wattage roster of political activists, strategists and digital organizers who are looking to reframe the debate around climate issues in eight battleground states — including Pennsylvania — ahead of the November general election.

The group, christened Climate Power 2020, is a joint effort between the League of Conservation Voters, the Center for America Progress Action Fund, and the Sierra Club. On its website, the new group boasts that “We believe in science. Donald Trump does not.”

John Podesta, the veteran Democratic operative and former aide to Presidents Bill Clinton and Barack Obama, said the group wants to help hold President Donald Trump “accountable for his rejection of science, facts, and reality. For both COVID-19 and the climate crisis, the anti-science policies from this administration are pushing our nation into crisis.

“Today, it fueled a pandemic. Tomorrow, we will see the consequences in a world destabilized by climate change,” Podesta said in a statement. Climate Power 2020 will change the politics of climate — pushing all candidates to aggressively campaign on climate action and holding science-denying campaigns accountable.”

WASHINGTON, DC – APRIL 24: U.S. President Donald Trump participates in a signing ceremony for H.R.266, the Paycheck Protection Program and Health Care Enhancement Act, with members of his administration and Republican lawmakers in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington DC on April 24th, 2020. The bill includes an additional $321 billion for the Paycheck Protection Programs forgivable loans to cover payroll and other costs for small businesses. Hospitals and other health care providers will receive $75 billion and another $25 billion is allocated for COVID-19 testing. (Photo by Anna Moneymaker/The New York Times/POOL/Getty Images)

In its statement, the group said it plans to focus its efforts on Arizona, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Michigan, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin — all states that will be hotly contested in 2020. Trump narrowly won Pennsylvania in 2016, and Democrats are looking to take it back this fall.

“Our city is proving that protecting the planet is good for our families, health and economy. We know President Trump stands with polluters—not Pennsylvanians,” Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto said in a statement. “Climate Power 2020 will harness the energy of Pennsylvanians who want bold climate action, and hold Trump accountable for failing to protect our communities from the growing impacts of climate change. By working together, we can demonstrate that a green jobs plan for Appalachia is both good policy and good politics.”

In a statement, Abrams argued that “communities of color are paying the highest price for Trump’s failure to adequately prepare for COVID-19 and his inaction on climate change. We can’t change the past, but we can prevent the next disaster.

“[This year] 2020 is our biggest chance to take action on climate change in an equitable way, and we need to hold Donald Trump accountable for his dangerous attack on science and shortsighted policies,” she said.

The Pennsylvania Capitol building. (Capital-Star photo by Sarah Anne Hughes)

Our Stuff.
A bill targeted at reopening car dealerships, barber shops has moved closer to Gov. Tom Wolf’s deskElizabeth Hardison reports.

Like a lot of cities, Pittsburgh is bracing for a COVID-19-driven body blow to its finances, Pittsburgh Correspondent Kim Lyons reports. Pennsylvania received a shipment of the anti-viral drug remdesivirLyons also reports.

Sales will resume at 155 more state liquor stores in yellow phase counties on Friday, your humble newsletter author writes.

A bike-share program in Philadelphia will help deliver free cribs to people who are housebound because of the COVID-19 pandemic, our partners at the Philadelphia Tribune report.

On our Commentary Page this morning, it shouldn’t take a pandemic to get us to confront systemic inequality, state Rep Joanna McClinton, D-Philadelphia, argues. And Scott L. Bohn of the Pennsylvania Chiefs of Police Association, explains why it’s so important — but especially now — to preserve early childhood education programs.

The Harrisburg, Pa., skyline (Image via Flickr Commons)

Pennsylvania counties are abandoning plans to reopen in the face of opposition from the Wolf administration, Spotlight PA reports.
The Post-Gazette previews life under the yellow phase, which starts Friday in Pittsburgh and much of western Pennsylvania.
PennLive looks at the state of COVID-19 testing in Pennsylvania, which is key to reopening.
President Donald Trump heads to the Lehigh Valley today, where he’ll make the case for reopening the country, the Morning Call reports.

Here’s your #Pennsylvania Instagram of the Day:

WHYY-FM examines the ’emergency on top of the emergency’ facing drug rehab centers in the midst of the pandemic.
The PA Post has the details on the plans for Lancaster County to reopen on Friday ahead of being cleared by the state. looks at the momentum the push for rural broadband expansion has gained under the pandemic.
U.S. Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick, R-1st District, has been named the most bipartisan member of CongressPoliticsPA reports.
Roll Call examines the racial disparities in maternal health care that have been revealed by the pandemic.

What Goes On.
 The House comes in at 11 a.m. this morning for a voting session.
Time TBD: Daily COVID-19 briefing.

Heavy Rotation.
Here’s some new music by the wondrous ladies of Haim, it’s ‘I Know Alone.’

Thursday’s Gratuitous Baseball Link. ranks the best debut season in every team’s history. 

And now you’re up to date.

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John L. Micek

A three-decade veteran of the news business, John L. Micek is the Pennsylvania Capital-Star's former Editor-in-Chief.