ReEnergize Texas Interviews Texas US Senate Front Runners

Looks like our friends over at ReEnergize Texas have scored a couple interviews with two 2010 Senate race hopefuls, Democratic Mayor of Houston Bill White and Republican Chairman of the Texas Railroad Commissioner Michael Williams.

Trevor Lovell, Statewide Director for ReEnergize Texas, reports:

We are not joining the throng of cable news reporters more concerned with the 2010 election than with fixing the country in the meantime. But we did score big with two interviews that could help shape the midterm US Senate race here in Texas.

The US Senate race in Texas has a slightly funny story. Longtime US Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison is expected to step down and throw her hat in the ring to become the next Texas Governor. The spot she may vacate (but has not yet vacated) is already being contested by a number of potential candidates, the most notable being John Sharp and Bill White on the Democratic side, and Michael Williams and Florence Shapiro on the Republican side.

Check ’em out:

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Read on for Lovell’s analysis of the interviews!

ReEnergize Texas is a non-partisan coalition, and the rules say we can’t give them grades on their respective interviews. What we can do is point out a few strengths and weaknesses for each candidate.

Michael Williams:

Strength – Naming energy storage as an important emerging technology. He rightly points out that it is key if we want a massive transition to renewable energy statewide and nationwide.

Weakness – Naming clean coal as an important emerging technology, and arguing that it will be cheaper than renewable alternatives. The only reason we don’t have a full-scale clean coal plant in America is because no one can afford to build one!

Strength – Understanding that our energy future cannot be conducted in a way that hinders the economy. Whatever solutions we attempt must balance numerous interests.

Weakness – Failure to be bold. The biggest weakness in many of the responses was failure to see a clean and just energy future. When asked about efficiency he talked about meeting 10% of demand, while the Rocky Mountain Institute says that we can reduce demand by 30%.

Bill White:

Strength – Acknowledging the importance of carbon policy. If we are going to address climate change, we have to implement policies that actually reduce carbon. We cannot just hope and pray that new technologies will magically be adopted and save us in time.

Weakness – Implying that the policies being considered in Congress could hurt the economy. This buys into the rhetoric that regulating carbon is like creating an energy tax. Smart policies will assist consumers and businesses as they adapt, and will reduce energy demand, keeping energy costs low.

Strength – Focusing on energy efficiency. The best way we can achieve significant near term carbon reductions is by using the energy we already produce more efficiently.

Weakness – Dodging the nuclear question. The answer that “I think there are ways we can deal with the spent fuel problem” doesn’t even begin to address the myriad problems with nuclear power – plant safety, water consumption, carbon impact of construction (cement = lots of CO2), and high costs.

So there you have it – two candidates in their own words and some of ours. We look forward to working with the campaigns for Florence Shapiro and John Sharp in the near future to see where they stand on these critical issues.