This is a Moms Clean Air Force exclusive interview with Senator Lamar Alexander from Tennessee:
What is unique about protecting Tennessee’s resources?
Italy has its art, Egypt has its pyramids, and we have our Great American Outdoors. With more than nine million people visiting each year, the Great Smoky Mountains National Park is the most-visited national park in the country. I grew up hiking in the Great Smoky Mountains, and preserving places like the Great Smoky Mountains National Park and the Cherokee National Forest is important to making sure future generations will have the chance to do the same.
As a parent and grandparent, are you worried about the effects of climate change and air pollution on your children and the children of Tennessee?
The U.S. National Academy of Sciences and its counterparts in 12 other industrialized countries have warned that human activity has contributed significantly to climate change. The issue is what to do about it. Deliberately raising the price of energy and constructing a complicated cap-and-trade system is a wrongheaded approach. Instead, we should double government-sponsored research and liberate our free enterprise system to find new sources of clean, cheap, reliable energy. For example, 99 nuclear reactors provide 60 percent of all of our country’s carbon-free electricity, which is why I’ve proposed building 100 new nuclear reactors and accelerating research on smaller reactors.
Why is a bipartisan effort so important to solve the problem of air pollution, and how can these efforts be achieved in our politically polarizing culture?
Air pollution is a serious problem that affects all Americans. It is important that all of us work together to get things done and help unleash the abundance of clean, cheap, reliable energy we need to power our 21st-century economy.
Senator Lamar Alexander was born in Maryville, the son of a kindergarten teacher and an elementary school principal. He is a seventh-generation Tennessean. He is the only Tennessean ever popularly elected both governor and U.S. Senator. He has been U.S. Education Secretary and University of Tennessee president. He chaired the National Governors Association and President Reagan’s Commission on Americans Outdoors. Lamar Alexander and Honey Buhler were married in 1969. They have four children and eight grandchildren, and a dog named Rufus. He is a Presbyterian elder.