AUSTIN, TX – EDF Action, the advocacy partner of the Environmental Defense Fund, is launching a political action committee (PAC) to pass lasting environmental and economic policies in Texas by electing pro-climate candidates up-and-down the ballot.
Recently, the Supreme Court undermined the EPA’s authority to protect people from smokestack pollution at a time when all evidence shows we must take urgent action to keep our climate livable. This heightens the need for pro-climate solutions at every level, including our state, county, and city governments.
Texas holds much promise, being a leading innovator of advanced energy solutions, but Texans are dealing with climate and environmental disasters every day, from hurricanes to wildfires, electric grid failures to oil and gas explosions, leaks, and pollution.
The EDF Action Texas PAC represents a commitment by EDF Action and EDF Action Votes, in 2022 and beyond, to implement practical, innovative, inclusive, and equitable solutions to climate and environmental issues shaping Texas’ economy and its future.
“Texas lags most states on pollution metrics, but we’re also a hub of innovation and leadership. Climate and environmental solutions that work in Texas will reverberate across the nation and worldwide,” said Colin Leyden, Texas Political Director for EDF Action. “Environmental voters need a voice in the electoral process — we can’t sit on the sidelines.”
EDF Action and EDF Action Votes engaged in Texas during the 2020 campaign, supporting efforts to elect a handful of pro-environment candidates and educate voters about the Railroad Commission. The launch of EDF Action Texas PAC signals the organization’s enthusiasm to build on that work.
What They’re Saying:
- “For years, EDF Action has built a reputation for working practically and bringing together the full spectrum of public-sector and private-sector stakeholders, creating and passing lasting solutions to our most pressing environmental and economic issues,” said Gilberto Ocañas, a veteran Texas policy and political strategist serving on the PAC’s informal advisory panel. “EDF Action Texas PAC will build on that record, supporting and electing pro-environment candidates across the state, no matter where they live or what political party they belong to.”
- “EDF Action Texas PAC will ensure that a diversity of voices is helping to implement innovative, lasting climate and environmental policy at every level of government,” added PAC advisory panel member Jaclyn Uresti, who has more than 13 years of legislative and campaign experience in Texas and national politics. “We’ll work to create a durable, inclusive majority of pro-environment elected officials that truly represents Texas.”
- And Luke Orlando — a former Pearland City Councilmember and staffer for state Rep. Ed Thompson (R-Pearland), who also serves on the advisory panel — added, “Environmental voters are not one-size-fits-all. Groups like EDF Action Texas PAC can help us come together, wherever we live and whatever our voting history, to create a healthier, safer future for our state.
EDF Action Texas PAC Informal Advisory Panel:
- Stephen Brown is the Director of the Global Energy Initiative at the Climate Imperative Foundation. Brown’s career spans well over 20 years of sustainable energy project development, government relations and public affairs experience. He was the 2014 Democratic Nominee for Texas Railroad Commissioner, which made him the youngest African American to win a statewide primary in Texas.
- Gilberto Ocañas is a native Texan that has spent over thirty years building a trusted political and business network with corporate executives, community leaders, operatives, entrepreneurs and elected officials. Ocañas has also served on various national business and nonprofit boards including the Smithsonian Task Force on Latino Affairs and Mi Familia Vota.
- Luke Orlando represented the people of Pearland on city council from 2019 to 2022. When elected, he was 25. From 2013 to 2015, he served on Republican State Representative Ed Thompson’s staff at the Texas Capitol and managed his 2018 reelection campaign. Luke works in management consulting where he brings a fresh perspective and data-driven strategy to help companies across a wide range of industries solve complex business problems
- Jaclyn Uresti is currently the President of the Mexican American Legislative Caucus. She has more than 13 years of legislative and campaign experience in Texas and national politics. She is an alum of two presidential campaigns – serving as the Texas State Director for Hillary for America and Texas senior advisor for Biden for President. She was recently the Deputy Executive Director of the Texas Future Project, a donor collaborative aimed at building a progressive infrastructure. Jaclyn’s legislative experience includes working for some of the best current and former members of the Texas House, including U.S. Congressman Joaquin Castro and State Representative Abel Herrero.