To the Editor:
As a scientist, I have devoted my 20+ year scientific career to the development of fusion energy – a carbon-free, safe, clean, and virtually unlimited source of energy – that has the potential to transform our world.
In 2015, I narrowly defeated an incumbent with a poor environmental record and began my legislative career.
Since 2016, I have worked hard to be one of the strongest advocates for the environment in the New Jersey General Assembly sponsoring numerous pieces of legislation that will protect New Jersey’s air, water and land for generations to come.
In 2017, I was endorsed by the New Jersey Chapter of the League of Conservation Voters (LCV) for my first reelection and received the highest environmental score given to any legislator.
I am deeply disappointed that I will not receive an endorsement for reelection from the LCV in 2019, even though my environmental record continues to be one of the strongest in the Legislature.
To be clear, this has nothing to do with environmental protection. In fact, I am one of the few legislators to receive an early endorsement from the Sierra Club of New Jersey for the 2019 election.
Instead, LCV has decided not to endorse me because I am the prime author in the General Assembly of the “dark money” bill that they strongly oppose. This legislation requires that any 501(c)4 that receives a donation greater than $10,000 must disclose the source of that donation if it is used to influence our political process and it bans an elected official from serving on the board of this type of organization.
The influence of large donations to organizations that engage in politics is increasing every year and the people of New Jersey have the right to know where that money comes from. Next week, this law will be challenged in court by the group, Americans for Prosperity, an organization funded by the conservative Koch brothers, who are no friends of the environment.
The leadership of the LCV has made it clear that their strong opposition to this new law is the reason I will not receive the endorsement in 2019. Or, to put it another way, it is my work on “dark money” and not my environmental record that is motivating this decision.
It is a shame that the board of the LCV has decided that protecting their own self-interest is more important than supporting someone with a strong environmental record.
Please know that regardless of that decision, I will continue to advocate for laws and regulations that will protect New Jersey’s land, air and water. I will also continue to fight to strengthen our political system, regardless of the consequences.
Andrew Zwicker (D-16)