Billionaire liberal activist Tom Steyer’s political action committee is opening an office in Basalt to raise awareness of climate change and stump for U.S. Senate incumbent Mark Udall.
Steyer’s super PAC, NextGen Climate Colorado, will open Wednesday above Cafe Bernard at 200 Midland Ave. The field-office staff and volunteers are hosting a gathering from 5 to 7 p.m. The public is welcome. The entrance to the second-floor space is in the back of the building, up the stairs.
NextGen Climate, as the parent organization is known, has already opened offices in Denver and Boulder.
“We’re opening more every week,” said NextGen Climate Colorado Communications Director Abby Leeper. Another will soon open in Stapleton neighborhood of Denver.
Steyer is pumping tens of millions of dollars into the campaigns of political candidates in 2014 who support taking action to prevent climate change. He is making good on a promise he made during American Renewable Energy Day in Aspen in August to support Udall in his Senate re-election bid. Udall, a Democrat, is facing a tough challenge in the November election from U.S. Rep. Cory Gardner in what could go down as the state’s most expensive Senate campaign. Polls say the race is extremely close at this point.
Leeper said community organizers in the Basalt office will go door-to-door in Pitkin County and the midvalley as well as provide information at community events.
“Our focus is keeping Congressman Gardner out of the Senate,” Leeper said. Gardner has “flat-out denied” climate science, she said. NextGen Climate’s mission statement is to focus on bringing climate change to the forefront of American politics, “prevent climate disaster and preserve American prosperity.”
When asked why NextGen Colorado isn’t focusing on areas with voters more skeptical about climate change than the middle and upper Roaring Fork Valley, Leeper said a big part of strategy for November is to get out the vote of known supporters. Community organizers will be particularly interested in informing young voters about the stakes in the election and inspiring them to vote, she said.
Steyer is targeting key Senate races in New Hampshire, Iowa, Florida and Michigan as well as Colorado during the 2014 election.
NextGen Climate will remain “active” after the midterm election, Leeper said, though she was uncertain about the status of the offices in Basalt and elsewhere after November.
“Our focus is keeping Congressman Gardner out of the Senate.”
NextGen Climate Colorado