***FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE*** SEPTEMBER 7, 2021
Zachary DeWolf, Washington Conservation Voters, 206-771-4207
Washington Conservation Voters Selects Representative Joe Fitzgibbon as 2021 Legislator of the Year
WCV’s first two-time winner delivered on commitment to carbon free future and environmental justice
WASHINGTON STATE—Washington Conservation Voters (WCV), Washington’s political voice for the environment, is delighted to announce Representative Joe Fitzgibbon (D-34) as its 2021 Legislator of the Year. WCV will present this award at the annual Gathering of Environmental Champions fundraising event on October 14, 2021.
Representative Fitzgibbon is the organization’s first two-time winner of their prestigious award, which is given to a legislator who is an environmental champion during the legislative session. He previously won the award in 2015.
“I’m proud of the tremendous, hard-won achievement by so many of our House Members and Democratic colleagues in the Senate moving Washington towards a climate-safe future. But as ever, our work is not done yet,” said Representative Joe Fitzgibbon (D-34). “My colleagues and I are excited to continue our work together with WCV, environmentalists across the state, and communities most impacted by the climate crisis to accelerate our state’s climate progress and ensure a healthy Washington for many generations to come. Thank you for this award, once again.”
WCV selected Rep. Joe Fitzgibbon because he led a multi-year effort to pass HB 1091, a Low Carbon Fuel Standard (LCFS), for the State of Washington. A Low Carbon Fuel Standard requires fuel producers and importers to reduce climate pollution from the fuels that power our transportation system.
“The incredible progress made in the 2021 legislative session is a remarkable turn of events after the year and a half we’ve just experienced. The clock is ticking on advancing critical climate policies like HB 1091 because we simply don’t have any more time to waste on preparing for our futures,” said Alyssa Macy, CEO, of Washington Environmental Council and Washington Conservation Voters. “Representative Joe Fitzgibbon is truly a champion for people and the planet and we are all better off because of his leadership and commitment to passing legislation that will benefit our communities today and for many generations into the future.”
Rep. Fitzgibbon also helped strengthen and ultimately pass SB 5126, the Climate Commitment Act, which puts a price on carbon through a cap-and-invest program. He worked tirelessly to improve the Senate version of the bill by negotiating with Senate environmental leaders and the Governor, and engaging with Native Nations and racial justice stakeholders to ensure that key equity and Native Nation provisions were included in the bill. He successfully brought together a diverse and representative cohort of House Democrats—when there had been serious division on the bill in the months leading up to its arrival in the House. His ability to unite the House for this bill was remarkable.
“We faced a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to pass sweeping environmental justice. When this process began, my greatest fear was passing along asthma, respiratory disease, and other preventable climate-borne illnesses to my children, because Washington failed to act. It is clear to me, no one other than Rep. Joe Fitzgibbon could have shepherded SB 5126 through the arduous process. Rep. Fitzgibbon’s efforts sent a resounding message—’there can be no environmental justice without environmental equality, and that must include improving the air we breathe. We must cap, heal, and invest in the communities with the greatest disproportionate impact. We know those communities are Black, brown, and Indigenous.’ He’s an environmental champion,” said Paula Sardinas, Founder & Architect of the WA-Build Back Black Alliance.
In addition, Rep. Fitzgibbon helped lead the House effort to pass SB 5141, the Healthy Environment for All (HEAL) Act, in collaboration with Senate Sponsor Senator Rebecca Saldańa. The HEAL Act created an Environmental Task Force Council that will direct agencies to integrate environmental justice into its processes, policy implementation, and funding processes.
“Representative Fitzgibbon worked with a broad and diverse group of members in the House of Representatives, Native Nations, and non-profit advocates to set the stage to achieve Washington’s greenhouse gas emission targets in a number of ways during the 2021 session, but did so by ensuring that these policies focused on people and equity,” expressed Lennon Bronsema, Chief Campaigns Officer, Washington Conservation Voters.
Rep. Fitzgibbon was first elected to the House of Representatives in 2010 and represents the State’s 34th Legislative District, which includes West Seattle, Burien, Vashon Island and White Center. He chairs the House Environment & Energy Committee and sits on the Appropriations and Rural Development, Agriculture & Natural Resources committees. Washington Conservation Voters endorsed and supported Rep. Fitzgibbon’s candidacy from his very first run for public office .