The Green in ’17 campaign was developed to make the environment a defining issue in the 2017 New Jersey gubernatorial race. With two-term Gov. Chris Christie ineligible to run again, Green in ‘17 sought to elevate the public conversation about the environment in the wide- open election by creating a groundswell of attention to what the gubernatorial candidates said throughout their campaigns about their plans to protect New Jersey’s air, land, and water.
A bipartisan initiative, the Green in ‘17 campaign launched in January of 2017 with the backing of two former governors—Democrat Jim Florio and Republican Christie Todd Whitman.
With the help of volunteers across the state, our team attended 102 candidate events and had questions about the environment asked at all but five. We pressured moderators to make the environment a priority during debates, and our efforts paid off: in the first primary debate, 40% of questions for Republicans and 20% of questions for Democrats were about environmental issues.
Throughout the campaign, we created resources to educate candidates. The 2017 Environmental Policy Guide provided recommendations from 22 environmental nonprofits on the issues of clean water, open space, environmental justice, public transit, and clean energy, and was mailed to all legislative and gubernatorial candidates in the state. Agenda ’18: New Jersey’s Conservation Roadmap, a guide for the new governor created with nearly 30 environmental nonprofits, outlined environmental policy priorities for the next administration with a 100 day, first year, and first term timeline. Agenda ‘18 was distributed to new administration’s transition team and mailed to 4,000 elected officials and leaders.
The Green in ’17 campaign achieved significant success.
• The environment received major media coverage, with 346 articles written about the environment in the context of the election. WNYC listed New Jersey’s environmental challenges as one of the top five reasons to pay attention to the race, and PoliticoPro listed the environment as a top four priority in their Definitive Guide to the Gubernatorial Transition.
• The environment became a centerpiece for the candidates as well, with both major gubernatorial candidates committing to protecting drinking water and acting on climate change.
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