By Max Muller - Last week, Oregon SolarPAC had what I’d call its first 2016 election success: Oregon Governor Kate Brown made a campaign stop at a clean energy fundraiser, and Oregon SolarPAC was there in force representing at least a third of attendees in a packed room.
The best part is each of them got the Governor’s ear for at least a few minutes to speak to her about their businesses and issues affecting solar. “She was all ears,” said OSEIA”s Board President Laurie Hutchinson, who was among them, "It was clear to us that Gov. Brown was listening to what we were saying and deepening her understanding of the issues we face."
That successful event was only the first of many opportunities Oregon SolarPAC will create for the solar industry to speak directly with policymakers as part of OSIEA’s new strategy of engaging in election year politics.
But although organized political giving is new for Oregon’s solar industry, it's long been standard practice for many, if not most, other Oregon professional trade organizations and businesses to lobby the legislature.
Here’s a sampling of several other groups’ political giving to Oregon candidates and campaigns during the 2013-14 election cycle:
POLITICAL GIVING IN THE 2013-2014 ELECTION CYCLE
(Source: Oregon Secretary of State’s ORESTAR Database)
Note that these are utilities and business associations who often lobby the same legislators on similar issues to ours but are not always in supportive of the solar industry. It’s plain to see that with them spending generously during the election season, to be competitive, the solar industry should get organized and begin supporting candidates during their elections too. It’s a standard tool for building relationships used by many professional trade associations.
Although the dollar figures above may seem large, Oregon SolarPAC plans to make an impact in 2016 with much less. Here’s the plan:
It will be a very strong start for the solar industry in its first year of PAC fundraising. Ultimately, Oregon SolarPAC’s goal is to build legislative champions to advance the widespread adoption of solar energy in Oregon.
“Oregon SolarPAC’s work this election cycle is crucial to maximizing the solar industry’s ability to make an impact in the 2017 legislative session and well into the future,” said OSEIA executive director Jeff Bissonnette.
If you haven’t contributed to SolarPAC, please consider doing so now, here.
Support the Oregon SolarPAC!!!
OSEIA has started a political action committee to increase our voice and influence with our decision makers in Salem. Your donation to the Oregon SolarPAC helps expand OSEIA’s capacity to develop a marketplace for the widespread adoption of solar energy in Oregon. More information>