In this blog, we examine the policies and positions of Rev. Raphael Warnock, Democratic candidate running for the open (Class III) U.S. Senate seat in Georgia. Also in this series we profile Kelly Loeffler, the incumbent and Republican candidate for the same seat.Brady Watson | November 11, 2020
This post is part of a series of blogs examining where 2020 Southeastern candidates for state and federal offices stand on key energy and climate issues. Note: The Southern Alliance for Clean Energy does not support or oppose candidates or political parties. Links to reports, candidate websites and outside sources are provided as citizen education tools.
In this blog, we examine the policies and positions of Rev. Raphael Warnock, Democratic candidate running for the open (Class III) U.S. Senate seat in Georgia. Also in this series we profile Kelly Loeffler, the incumbent and Republican candidate for the same U.S. Senate seat in Georgia. On January 5, 2021, the same day as the election for this U.S. Senate runoff, there is a separate runoff election being held for Georgia’s other U.S. Senate seat (Class II) between Democrat Jon Ossoff and Republican David Perdue, which you can read about in our already published “Where the Candidates Stand” blogs on those candidates.
Reverend Raphael Warnock grew up in Savannah, Georgia in a family with 11 siblings. His father was a small business man and a preacher, and his mother worked in agriculture. Rev. Warnock attended Morehouse College in Atlanta, earned a Ph.D and was ordained in the ministry. Fifteen years ago, he became Senior Pastor at Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta, the former pulpit of Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. His campaign website is warnockforgeorgia.com.
Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency
On his website, Rev. Warnock states that he “believes in working toward a clean economy that will create jobs, reduce pollution, and produce a world that our children can inherit.” He has pledged to work to ensure that Georgians are not left behind in the transition to sustainable energy. He also supports a commitment to transitioning to a clean economy by 2050.
On his website, Rev. Warnock states: “The flooding and extreme weather we have seen in coastal Georgia and across the South are sobering reminders of how devastating climate change can be in our daily lives, especially in underserved and rural communities.” Warnock cites the damaging effects of rising sea levels and more intense storms to Georgians, and the need for leaders to accept science and work to combat the climate crisis as motivating factors for his position. He also pledges to:
- Support efforts to rejoin the Paris Climate Accords
- Work to reverse rollbacks on EPA standards for clean air and water
- Invest in green infrastructure to protect Georgia’s coastline from rising sea-levels
Reverend Warnock states on his website that he will support setting goals for carbon reduction and robust climate standards from newly manufactured cars and infrastructure. He also states support for expanding public transportation, including high speed rail.
Energy Equity and Energy Burden
Reverend Warnock has a history of focusing on environmental justice during his time as pastor at Ebenezer Baptist Church, and convened a meeting on climate change with leaders advocating for climate action. As a man of faith, Rev. Warnock believes that humans must be stewards of the earth, and that everyone has the right to clean air and water, while also recognizing that those who can least afford to deal with the impacts of climate change are often those most impacted by it, oftentimes communities of color and other low-income populations. Warnock has stated, including in the video below, that everyday issues like high energy bills are often felt most by Black and brown communities. As part of a transition to clean energy, he wants to ensure those that are most impacted by climate change are also granted priority access to training and education to benefit from it.
High-Risk Energy (Coal, Nuclear, Oil, Gas)
Reverend Warnock has said he will work to hold polluters and utility companies accountable. He also states: “Too often, fossil fuel lobbyists and politicians have taken advantage of the revolving door between corporate boardrooms and political backrooms so much that we cannot tell the difference between the two.”
If you are interested in learning more about where your state’s candidates for federal and state office stand on energy, click here to access the entire 2020 blog series. The voter registration deadline for the U.S. Senate runoff elections in Georgia is December 7 and early voting begins December 14, 2020. Election Day for all runoff elections is January 5, 2021. For voting information in Georgia, including updates about the impact of COVID-19 on voting, click here.