Student activists from the Sunrise Movement delivered a message and a petition to Governor Gina Raimondo at the Rhode Island State House Friday afternoon. Sunrise Rhode Island is asking the Governor to sign the No Fossil Fuel Money Pledge. If she signs, Raimondo will be agreeing to accept no more money from fossil fuel companies.
Raimondo was not in the State House, so the student activists left the statement and the petition with a staffer.
“Today was an escalation of the action we have been taking to encourage Governor Raimondo sign the No Fossil Fuel Money Pledge,” said Brown University student Ella Kotner. “We’ve called, we’ve emailed, we’ve asked in person, and all efforts were disdainfully dismissed. We thought the logical next step was to build support across Rhode Island and show her that our health, wellbeing and future are not something to be dismissed. It is time for Governor Raimondo to decide whether or not she is a true progressive. It is time for her to take bold action to make Rhode Island a climate leader. It is time for her to reject fossil fuel money and oppose the Burrillville Power Plant, the LNG facility in South Providence, and all other fossil infrastructure.”
The pledge reads, “I pledge to not take contributions from the oil, gas, and coal industry and instead prioritize the health of our families, climate, and democracy over fossil fuel industry profits.”
The list of politicians who have signed the pledge in Rhode Island includes: Matt Brown, Paul Roselli, Drew Maguire, Aaron Regunberg, Jeanine Calkin, Susan Donovan, Edith Ajello, Sam Bell, Melanie DuPont, Terri Cortvriend, Lauren Carson, Moira Walsh, Julie Casimiro, Marcia Ranglin-Vassell, Christopher Blazejewski, Arthur Handy, Evan Shanley, Carol Hagan McEntee, Kathleen Fogarty, Jeremiah O’Grady, Shelby Maldonado, Jean Phillippe Barros, Katherine Kazarian, Jay Edwards, Deborah Ruggiero, John Lombardi, Anastasia Williams, Ramon Perez, David Bennett, James Seveney, Jonathan Hernandez, Lauren Niedel-Gresh, Michael Steiner and Laufton Ascencao.
Joining the students was Lauren Niedel-Gresh, who signed the pledge and is running for House District 40 (Coventry, Foster, Glocester). “It was a pleasure joining members of Rhode Island Student Climate Coalition today,” said Niedel-Gresh. “They deserve so much credit for their passion for the environment and their willingness to confront inaction where they see it even towards our elected Democratic Governor. As we now enter the fourth year since the Governor introduced Invenergy to Rhode Island – Now more than ever we cannot accept the status quo. We have to continuously challenge the process. Governor please, for the future of these students, show us that you are really hearing them.”
In the video below, taken outside the 2018 Rhode Island Democratic Party State Committee Meeting on June 24, the students asked, “Governor, will you commit to not taking money from the fossil fuel industry?” Raimondo smiled, walked past them and said, simply, “Uh, no.”
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