This is a Moms Clean Air Force exclusive interview with Michigan State Senator for the 18th District, Rebekah Warren:
MCAF: What is unique about protecting your district’s resources?
State Senator Warren: My District, Senate District 18, is home to a wealth of natural resources, including a portion of the Waterloo Recreation Area — the largest state park in Michigan’s Lower Peninsula — and is host to a number of diverse ecosystems, some of which include geographic features dating back to the ice age. In addition to this incredible natural asset, Washtenaw County is also known for the Huron River and its corresponding recreational trails, Pinckney State Recreation Area, numerous county parks, city parks and rural nature preserves that are spread all across the district. Each one of these spaces is directly impacted by the quality of air surrounding it, and the citizens I represent are incredibly active in ensuring these areas are protected, due in large part to their first-hand knowledge of all these areas have to offer. Residents of Michigan’s 18th Senate District have displayed a longstanding respect for the environment, which has always helped drive my steadfast dedication to preserving our area’s incredible natural beauty with my legislative efforts.
Are you worried about any specific effects of climate change on your nieces and nephews, and the children of your district?
While we are fortunate to live in an area that has yet to experience the type of changes that have already started to alter day-to-day life in other geographic locations, I do worry about what stands to come our way in future years if we do not take action now to address climate change. While this year’s winter was certainly harsh, I am concerned that our young people could experience unbearable weather condition as they grow older. Now is the time for us to educate the next generation of Michiganders on this issue so that they enter the working world as informed citizens who can help make a difference. Scientists agree that climate change is upon us as a direct result of human activities, and we must be sure that today’s children understand the very real consequences they could face as adults if we continue to downplay our role in altering the earth’s weather patterns.
Why is a bipartisan effort so important to you when working on issues of air quality?
Environmental issues cross all party lines. The quality of our air affects every single person in our state, and I believe that makes it every person’s responsibility to protect it, regardless of political affiliation. As a legislator, I have always taken this responsibility very seriously; fighting for quality policy-making through the Senate Natural Resources, Environment and Great Lakes Committee and the Great Lakes Commission. The quality of our health is undeniably dependent upon the quality of our air, and furthermore, many policies that protect Michigan’s air by promoting energy efficiency and renewable energy, also create good-paying jobs throughout our state. As a legislator, I believe that this issue, which is both environmental and economic, is one that transcends all partisanship.
Is there anything you’d like to share that is important for Moms Clean Air Force members to know?
Your voice matters. With a growing coalition of moms who are out to seek change in the policies that affect the quality of our air, Moms Clean Air Force is compelling people and politicians to listen to the facts about climate change and pollution. Thank you for all that you do on behalf of our environment and our future generations.
Thank you, State Senator Warren!
A long-time resident of Ann Arbor, Rebekah was first elected to the Michigan House of Representatives in 2006, where she represented the 53rd District for four years. Now in her first term as State Senator for the 18th District, she is proud to serve the majority of Washtenaw County, an area known for world-class higher education, a vital artistic community, a diverse and engaged citizenry, and so much more.
During her tenure in the Legislature, Rebekah has been an ardent champion of our precious natural resources. As a freshman State Representative, she was chosen to chair the House Committee on Great Lakes and the Environment, where she received statewide acclaim for negotiating the bipartisan passage of landmark legislation effectively banning Great Lakes water diversion. She is now the Democratic Vice-Chair of the Senate Committee on Natural Resources, Environment and Great Lakes, and in 2011, she was appointed to represent Michigan on the prestigious Great Lakes Commission, an interstate compact focused on water use and conservation.