Get to Know Our 2022 Candidates for US Congress and the State Legislature
Updated: Feb 19
October 21, 2022
Updated November 3, 2022
What's the most important thing you can do for the environment in this election? Cast an informed vote!
In an effort to learn more about their environmental priorities, Color Your Community Green teams asked the candidates for Congressional District 25, NY State Senate-55, and NY State Assembly-135 a set of questions earlier this month. We asked them to either answer our questions or to provide a general statement of their concerns about the environment in general, climate specifically, and what actions they will prioritize should they be elected. Their responses are below.
US Congressional District 25: Joe Morelle and La'Ron Singletary
NY State Assembly District 135: Joe Chenelly and Jen Lunsford
NY State Senate District 55: Samra Brouk and Len Morrell
US Congressional NY-District 25
1. What do you see as the top three environmental concerns for our district and what is your plan to address these?
The climate crisis is one of the most urgent challenges facing our community, our nation, and our world. We are already feeling its devastating impacts on our environment and our economy, and without action, things will only get worse. That’s why in Congress, I have worked to advance laws that reduce our carbon emissions, protect clean air and water, and promote a sustainable economy—helping us protect our planet for future generations.
2. The Inflation Reduction Act, the Kigali Amendment, the CHIPS Act, and the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law are now Laws of the Land. How do you plan to ensure that NY 25 benefits from these policies?
I am pleased to have helped pass legislation that takes important steps to tackle the climate crisis—particularly by passing the Inflation Reduction Act, which marks one of the largest investments in fighting climate change to date. I am working closely with partners at all levels of government to ensure our community benefits from these investments, especially those that strengthen clean energy and transportation.
3. What comes next? What are your top priorities for future environmental policies that these laws did not address?
While I am proud of what we have accomplished, there is still so much more work to be done. I remain committed to reducing our carbon footprint, which is why I co-sponsor the Energy Innovation and Carbon Dividend Act and the Climate Action Now Act. We must also ensure our environmental policies prioritize our families’ futures over the whims of profit-driven special interests. Together, we can take meaningful steps to fight the climate crisis and secure the long-term health and vitality of our planet.
US Congressional NY-District 25
As of 10/21/22, Mr. Singletary has not responded to our emailed request. If he does answer our questions, we will update this post.
NY State Assembly District 135
Statement from Joe Chenelly, candidate for NYS Assembly, 135th District
(585) 430-9493, email@example.com , www.joefornys.com
It is important to me that our state is a leader in restoring our environment and building a sustainable future for our planet.
We must acknowledge that we are in a difficult position to be leaders given the high tax burden we carry into this battle. Our state is being impacted more than most other states by the global inflation crisis. Our state spends as much as any other state, but not always wisely, making it more difficult to make the
Our state government must commit to wiser spending, ridding Albany of the deep corruption that hurts these efforts to save our planet.
The majority party in NYS needs to put forward clean bills, free from unrelated or loosely related expenditures. Packing important items that should stand on their own into the governor’s budget is lazy and designed to score political points rather than environmental advancements. The idea is to get Republicans to vote against the good endeavors by including them in packages that also contain partisan items. That’s the harm of one-party rule.
Protecting our planet used to be a bipartisan issue, and it needs to be again. That is a top goal of mine. It was the willingness of both parties to work together that led to the dramatic reduction in acid rain years ago. We must and can get back to that way of governing.
Sadly, around 2008, the Republican Party became much less supportive of environmental efforts. I saw it first-hand as I then worked in Washington, D.C., advocating for my fellow military veterans and their families. This seemingly was a result of the culture war that emerged around that time. In that, if one
party stepped out hard on a position, the other ran to the other side of whatever the issue. On some important issues, we saw both parties completely switch which side they were on when elections led to changes in which party was in the majority. It is disappointing to me that, particularly on environment
protections, Republicans never corrected themselves as a party.
But we don’t have to accept that. We can, and I will, work to bridge that divide, to bring the sides back to a workable, bipartisan vision.
The draft Scoping Plan is an excellent document, rich with may detailed recommendations. There are many that I support.
Among the easiest that we should be jumping into on a much broader scale is composting, improved recycling, and overall waste reduction.
My family lives a mile from Waste Management’s High Acres Landfill. For everyone’s benefit, we must begin real action now to reduce the organic waste going into that and all landfills. I will fight for state funding to help towns and counties to improve existing infrastructure and create new infrastructure, including county-run organic recycling centers.
I take special, supportive interest in decarbonizing the state’s 6.2 million buildings. My family had our home built in 2016. We requested to have the entire house built carbon-free, fully run on electric. We were repeatedly told that was not legal because of existing agreements mandated by the state between RG&E and Fairport Electric. We now have a hybrid-gas-electric furnace, which we cannot afford to replace soon. Our entire neighborhood, which contains 240 homes, is in the same situation.
We need to recognize that some homes, especially those in rural and mountainous regions of our state, rely heavily on wood burning to heat their homes for at least half of each year.
The Transportation-Oriented Development is a concern to me and many of us living in this Assembly district. This is tied to pending legislation that would take residential zoning authority from cities, towns, and villages. We must protect “home rule,” in which the localities decide where multiunit housing may
be developed. One aim of this legislation is to create more densely populated communities, making mass transit centers viable. But that legislation has aspects that would be harmful to the environment and quality of life. It would allow property owners to build multiunit housing without allowing municipalities to first conduct studies. Converting existing single-family houses into four- and six-unit buildings could have dire consequences if public works, transportation, etc., are not adequate.
In general, I am thoroughly impressed with the vast scope of the recommendations. I look forward to learning much more about its goals and progress so far through direct interaction with your coalition.
We have a large, diverse, beautiful state. What may be easy for some regions will be extremely difficult for others. In particular, the Adirondacks experience severe, prolonged winters while downstate does not. We here in Western New York are somewhere in between. We have New York State residents with
limited access to electric power, especially during winter months. The areas in which heavy snow falls for months, different, heavier equipment is needed to sustain life. Those are real challenges that need additional work.
I also have concerns about much of the market-based policies. Turning public parking lots into fee-based parking, especially in urban and suburban areas will sour many on larger, more important points to these plans. It will create unwanted burdens while many are already financially struggling.
I do view the Scoping Plan as a great way of deal with the public health problems associated with the widespread combustion of fossil fuels.
As for our Assembly district, we are still not where we need to be, but I fully acknowledge that our region, in large part thanks to your organizations’ efforts, is far ahead of other areas in the state and certainly the nation.
I will fight to end the hauling for New York City’s trash to our region. I will fight to improve our composting operations. And I will fight to help bring better mass transit to our region, connecting us better with the rest of the state (especially Buffalo, Syracuse, Albany, and NYC) with the intention of reducing the number of individual vehicles on our highways.
I am grateful for this opportunity. I have learned a great deal over the past seven months since unexpectedly becoming a candidate. I appreciate the information you and many others have provided me at numerous events you took part in and I attended. If elected, you can be assured I will continue to
attend and seek to meet directly with your organizations’ leadership regularly, as I am determined to be part of the solution to the crisis our environment is facing.
Thank you for all you do,
NY State Assembly District 135
Statement from Jen Lunsford, candidate for NYS Assembly, 135th District
In New York State we have set the most aggressive climate goals in the country. We are trying to lead the way on clean energy, electric vehicles and organic waste diversion to make New York a role model for other states. Much of our work up to this point has been goal setting, and the time has come to begin executing on the plans to achieve those goals. In my first term, I was the only member of the local delegation to sit on the environmental conservation committee. In that role, I was proud to have supported our efforts to expand renewable energy projects, to accelerate and incentivize brownfield clean up and to increase wetland protection. I fought hard with the DEC to provide better oversight of High Acres landfill and to redouble our efforts on the Beyond Waste program to make up for progress we lost during COVID. And I am thrilled to have received the endorsement of the League of Conservation Voters as I pursue reelection.
Moving forward, we need to put funding behind our mandates to bring electric vehicle fleets to our municipalities and schools. We cannot expect our local governments and school districts to achieve the goals set for them entirely on their own dime. While we still have some money from the VW settlement to help fund EV purchases, it is not nearly enough to meet the goals we've set. I was proud to have provided a $250,000 grant to the Penfield School District to buy their first electric bus and charging infrastructure, and I fought hard to change the law to ensure our schools could extend their school bus leases out further while also leasing charging technology, to give them the flexibility they need to convert. We need to continue to meet our partners where they are and help them get to where they need to be.
We need to continue our efforts to build up renewable energy projects while also preserving usable agricultural land, both by siting more renewable energy projects on brownfields and on buildings, and using existing technologies to grow on the land underneath solar panels. Greening our schools and other public buildings will go a long way towards helping us achieve our goals and maximize efficiency.
One major focus in our office is on our waste crisis. 40% of greenhouse gas emissions come from landfills and we are home to one of the most dysfunctional landfills in the state. I have been working with the DEC to help identify technologies to better assess fugitive gas emissions from our landfills in a more objective way so we can hold our waste contractors to account for failing to contain these emissions. We have worked with the EPA and borrowed their drone technologies to test existing techniques. And we are continuing to utilize existing programs to identify and cap inactive landfills to contain the methane they are leaking into our atmosphere. This is an ongoing struggle and I will continue to make this my top environmental priority should I be reelected.
Thank you for the opportunity to share my passion for environmental conservation. I am happy to take additional questions at firstname.lastname@example.org.
NY State Senate District 55
Statement from Samra Brouk, candidate for NYS Senate, 55th District
I proudly stand with Color Fairport Green, Color Irondequoit Green, Color Penfield Green and Color Pittsford Green in their efforts to advocate for environmental justice and equitable climate solutions.
There are few issues as pressing to the safety and well-being of our communities as climate change. Indeed, concern for our climate was one of the reasons I decided to first run for office. As a Black woman in America, I am keenly aware of how racist policies have resulted in environmental injustices that continue to quietly poison communities of color in nearly every city of this state. As Senator, I have been committed to safeguarding our natural resources, embracing a green economy that provides good-paying jobs, and equitably addressing historic injustices so that every child has a clean world to learn and grow in.
New York State’s Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act (CLCPA) has set important emissions goals for the State as we work to end our reliance on fossil fuels and transition towards a green economy. However, the CLCPA fails to hold the state’s worst polluters accountable and lacks funding for implementation. I believe we must call upon fossil fuel companies to do their part and help support communities most hurt by their pollution and climate change.
I am also proud to have supported provisions to approve the $3 billion Environmental Bond Act in last year’s state budget, which would invest in measures to bolster our state’s resilience to climate change and will go to New York’s voters for approval this November.
I have sponsored legislation to protect children from pesticides at camp (S4478A, S7696). In addition to posing a danger to our children, wanton use of pesticides and other chemicals can have deleterious effects on the ecosystem.
We know that Monroe County’s infrastructure has been tested by the effects of climate change, and I support measures to make our county and state more resilient to storms, flooding and other extreme weather events.
I look forward to working with community partners like Color Fairport Green, Color Irondequoit Green, Color Penfield Green and Color Pittsford Green to ensure the state meets its emissions and conservation goals.
NY State Senate District 55
As of 10/21/22, Mr. Morrell has not responded to our emailed request. If he does answer our questions, we will update this post.
Color Penfield Green is a non-partisan organization and does not endorse any political candidate(s). We look forward to collaborating with whoever holds office in January, 2023.