Some Good News From the Midterm Elections

There’s good news on the local level from the midterm elections in addition to the fracking and GMO crop bans we’ve written about. 

Florida approved an amendment to the state constitution that permanently sets aside funding to protect and restore watersheds and habitats – including the Everglades – which could add up to $20 billion. Voters in 19 states approved 35 land and water protection measures, the most in any election to date. Check out LandVote.org for details.

In the small city of Richmond, California, all eyes were on Chevron’s attempt to buy the local election. Even spending $3 million to control the outcome – electing a mayor and city council who would be more "friendly" to the company – didn’t win over voters.  

After decades punctuated by blow-outs at Chevron’s massive oil refinery there – sending 15000 people to the hospital in 2012 – the city sued and has been working to tighten regulations. Instead of cleaning up its act, Chevron blanketed residents with attack ads against Tom Butt, who raised $58,000. 

And Chevron lost! Tom Butt won the mayoral election 51% to 35%, and the entire "Team Richmond" won by big margins. 

In Alaska, voters said YES to a ballot measure that allows the  state legislature to ban Pebble Mine if it would endanger the salmon population. Currently, only federal and state agencies control mining permits.

This largest open-pit mine in North America – up to 2 miles long, 1.5 miles wide, and 1700 feet deep – would extract copper, gold and molybdenum in the heart of the world’s largest remaining wild sockeye salmon runs.

While the EPA is trying to block it, lawsuits could make that impossible. Thus, the referendum, which passed 65% to 35%. 

Voters also approved raising the minimum wage and legalized recreational marijuana!

Mine Pebble Mine

Move to Amend

Voters in Massachusetts, Florida, Ohio, Illinois and Wisconsin voted overwhelmingly for their state legislatures to pass constitutional amendments that overturn the Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision.

"Money in politics affects our lives everyday," says Donna Richards of Move to Amend. "We pay too much for healthcare. Our taxes go towards corporate welfare and wars, instead of education and protecting our environment. Our energy policy is dictated by Big Oil, and we can’t even pass reasonable gun background checks because the gun manufacturers have bought half of Congress. This isn’t what democracy looks like."

54 communities in Wisconsin alone have voted in favor of an amendment, representing 41% of residents. 16 state legislatures have voted for an amendment, as well as almost 600 towns, villages, cities and other organizations.

"Nearly all Americans share the sentiment that corporations should not have the same rights as people, and big money in politics should be removed," states Kaitlin Sopoci-Belknap, National Director of Move to Amend. "It is time for Congress to pass the We the People Amendment and send it to the states for ratification. The leadership of both parties need to realize that their voters are clamoring for this amendment, and we are only going to get louder."

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