With recent state legislation passed that will once and for all set criteria of what defines environmental justice communities like East Boston –Gubernatorial Candidate, former State Senator and Eastie resident Ben Downing outlined his climate plan that he’d make a priority if elected to the state’s corner office in 2022.
In his plan, the Pittsfield native who now lives in Orient Heights with his wife and two sons, said he wants to achieve 100 percent clean electricity in the Commonwealth by 2030 and 100 percent clean energy by 2040.
Downing, who became a clean energy business leader at a leading renewable energy company after leaving the Senate in 2017, unveiled his plan via his newly launched BEN TV (https://www.facebook.com/watch/? v=305705040944045).
Downing said the first part of his campaign’s policy agenda would be to focus on climate action.
“The Downing Climate Plan” is focused on urgency, equity, innovation, justice and jobs.
Aside from reaching 100 percent clean energy Downing said he’s also committed to requiring 50 percent of climate spending to directly benefit environmental justice communities; undertake “Restructuring 3.0” to reform utilities and modernize the grid; create a climate impact mandate across state government; and maximize the economic benefit of a clean energy economy in Massachusetts
“For years, the Massachusetts state government has approached climate change with sluggishness and delay,” said Downing during the launch of his climate agenda. “So barely two weeks after we finally saw a major climate bill signed into law, we still find ourselves behind. It’s past time we had a Governor who understands the fierce urgency of our changing climate, the disparate impact of our failures on disenfranchised communities, and the reality that if there is one resource we are flat out of, it is time. In the years ahead there is no greater priority for our state than undertaking an aggressive, all-hands-on-deck campaign to bring emissions down, reform our energy sector, maximize green jobs, build up climate resilience, and fortify communities shouldering environmental injustice.”
Downing said his climate policy plan is the first of many in his campaign.
“It’s critical to me that voters understand my vision and priorities from the start,” said Downing. “Our campaign’s policy agenda will be a living, breathing effort, and we’re looking forward to sharing ideas in the months ahead, getting feedback, listening to concerns, and building out a collective vision for a fairer, stronger Massachusetts.”
Downing was a leading voice for climate action during his 10 years in the state senate. He served as Senate Chair of the Joint Committee on Telecommunications, Utilities, and Energy where he passed transformative legislation to improve energy efficiency, jumpstart renewable development, and help the state meet its carbon reduction goals.
He later served as Vice President at Nexamp and also served on the board of the Environmental League of Massachusetts.