By Tommy Hough
When I entered the District 6 race in October, I knew I would have to step down as president of San Diego County Democrats for Environmental Action because of the time needed to run an effective campaign, and to avoid a conflict of interest. It is appropriate to do so.
I'm so proud to have co-founded this club three-and-a-half years ago, and I did so with immeasurable help from friends and fellow board members Fred Rogers and Cara Furio, and our two other original board members, Lori Kern and Kathleen Connell. In that time we've welcomed aboard Brian Elliott, Brett Fisher, Richard Ram and Alex Kiwan to our executive board.
I'm thankful to have met and welcomed so many great Democrats, environmentalists, community leaders and engaged San Diegans, and I'm excited to see where this club goes next.
This is a great opportunity for San Diego County Democrats for Environmental Action to fulfill what I believe is its role as a clearinghouse for environmental issues within the San Diego County Democratic Party, and to serve a cross between a political action entity and an environmental non-profit.
I've always been a Democrat, and as long as I can remember – going back to my days first experiencing the wild in the Laurel Highlands of Western Pennsylvania and the Monongahela National Forest in West Virginia – I've always been a conservationist intent on preserving wilderness and ecosystems. I've had a variety of personal and professional environmental endeavors, from Washington State Parks to Surfrider to Oregon Wild to my Treehuggers International show, but serving as president of this club has been the most rewarding and satisfying of any of those experiences. I'm so proud of what this club has been able to achieve and what we've accomplished. And there's so much more ahead of us, along with many more challenges.
We've gone from 20 original members in a hot and stuffy room at the county party office to over 370 members today – one of the biggest affinity clubs in the county party, and the only affinity club in any county Democratic party in the state focused solely on the environment other than Sacramento County.
Today, our candidates and elected officials are less likely to mention the environment out of a sense of obligation. They mention it because we are here, and because we have carved out and staked a claim for our planet in our party. You are a part of that. You're part of something very special in San Diego, and every person here tonight has had a role in our club's success and what it can continue to do.
I see an incredible opportunity with the new club members and e-board members we've ushered into the fold tonight, and I know we're well-equipped to go to the next level. We're just getting started.
So tonight, I'm stepping down as president of San Diego County Democrats for Environmental Action. Fred Rogers will serve as interim president until we bring aboard a new, long-term leader. I didn't plan on stepping down so soon, but I will always have the Enviro. Dems.' back and consider this my home club, and I'm pleased to announce my wife Cory and I are the club's newest patron members.
And no matter how awful the news is today – and it's bad – with the administration's abandonment of the Paris Climate Accord, yearlong wildfires and rising sea levels, our National Monuments defiled and the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge threatened, I tell you, THIS is not the end of the story. The end has yet to be written, and it's up to us, and you, to visualize and take the action in our club's name to make that happen.
Here's to soaring Redwoods and Sequoias, clean water, energy choice, and saving our planet's climate and habitat from ourselves.
Here's to the hope that all animals and species will live lives free of burden and cruelty, from the snail to the eagle, and that our wildlife truly have the room they need to roam and be free.
Here's to wilderness for all, from desert basins to the summits of the Sierras to our miles of coast. And here's to ridges and meadows ripe for wandering, room to explore, and time to connect with each other and the better vibrations of our planet.
My friends, we will write the ending. Thank you for the last three-and-a-half years of allowing me to serve as your president.
I am, as always, environmentally yours.
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