Climate Debate Ruckus

The demand for a Presidential Debate focused exclusively on climate change is turning into another test of grassroots power in the Democratic Party. The Democratic National Committee set up a series of 12 debates for the 2020 cycle, none with a single focus. In the face of pressure to hold a single-issue debate focused of climate, DNC Chair Tom Perez last week felt compelled to write a Medium post explaining the DNC position.

Before Perez’s statement, on June 8, one of our Coconino County Democratic Precinct Committee Members raised the issue from the floor at our monthly meeting. After discussion, there was an overwhelming sense of those present at the meeting that we should take action to let the DNC know that we support a Climate-Focused Single Issue Debate. At the June 10 Executive Committee meeting, we voted to pursue sponsorship of a Resolution to be presented to the Arizona Democratic Party at its next meeting in September.

Meanwhile, unbeknownst to us, the same question came before the Yavapai County Party Executive Committee on June 5, and we received this communication from the Yavapai County Chair on June 11:

Fellow County Chairs,

Yavapai county has submitted the following resolution/request to the ADP.


I suggest that all Counties consider making an echoing request and move Arizona forward.

Email signed by John Lutes, Yavapai County Chair

Arizona Democratic Party

Felecia Rotellini,

At the June 5th 2019 meeting of the Yavapai County Democratic Party Executive Committee we passed a motion to encourage the DNC and the Arizona Democratic Party to fully recognize the threat of the climate crisis and dedicate a presidential debate to climate change. The Climate Crisis is unlike any other problem we are facing as its consequences for the future of our planet are unparalleled.  It is understood that the DNC does not want to do single issue debates but the Yavapai County Democratic Party wants it made clear that the climate crisis contributes to all other major issues – immigration, health care, income equality, employment etc. Presently the full ramifications of carbon accumulation and climate change are not recognized and to not allow a debate to fully encompass the issue of climate change is dereliction of duty. Based on this we are requesting that the Arizona Democratic Party and the State Chair make a clear statement advocating for the importance of a debate on climate change.


The Yavapai County Democratic Party passed a motion requesting that the Democratic National Committee hold a presidential debate on climate change due to the urgency and importance of this issue and how it intersects with all other critical issues and the motion further request that the Arizona Democratic Party advocate for a presidential debate on climate change.


Yavapai County Democratic Party,
John Lutes, Chair

After circulating the Yavapai County Party’s statement to our full Executive Committee, our Chair Shannah Redmon received unanimous support to endorse the Yavapai County letter. We will continue to pursue a formal resolution for presentation to the September ADP meeting, probably as a co-sponsor with some ADP Caucuses and the other counties who join with Yavapai.

Our action is not in isolation. Fifteen of the Presidential candidates, including front-runner Biden, want a Climate Debate. Over 50 Democratic organizations around the country have sent demands like ours to the DNC. Polls are showing voters support a climate-focused debate and last Wednesday protesters showed up at DNC Headquarters in D.C. to protest Perez’s Medium post.

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