Miami, FL. Manny Cid, the Republican Mayor of Miami Lakes, knows about sea level rise. Under his leadership the city is pressurizing drainage pipes and installing back-flow preventers. But in his Republican town, he told me, it’s better not to say that climate change is causing the sea to rise. Mayor Cid struck me as a guy who’s trying to reconcile what he knows with what he hopes for his political future.
Tomas Regalado, the just-retired Mayor of Miami, also a Republican, can afford to be more blunt. When I met with him in his last days in the iconic office of the Miami mayor, he said something similar to what he said to the Miami Herald as Hurricane Irma was aiming at his city on September 8th. “If this isn’t climate change, I don’t know what is.”
Later, I met with Miami-Dade Commissioner Bruno Barreido, who is now in the Republican primary to replace Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen. He faces a primary electorate skeptical of climate change. “Even in Miami,” I marveled, “where the porous limestone on which the city is built can’t be engineered to hold back sea level rise.”
Getting acquainted with those realities and a great meeting with Doral, FL Mayor JC Bermudez got me pumped for our panel at Florida International University. We had stellar panelists (Coral Cables Commissioner Vince Lago; Rafael Perez of Ygrene Energy; and Christian Camera of the R Street Institute), but the best part was the audience. Most of the 75 conservatives in attendance were highly involved, Republican activists. When it comes to climate change, these are the folks who can help us change skepticism of the cause into optimism for the solutions.
Special thanks to the FIU College Republicans, R-Street, and Ygrene for co-hosting the event, and to republicEns Jess Fernandez and Armando Ibarra for making it happen (and for going on Spanish-language TV and two radio shows to promote the event!).
Executive Director - republicEn
republicEn spokeswoman Jessica Fernandez on Miami's 710-AM Radio Miami (Univision Radio)
republicEn spokesman Jessica Fernandez on Miami's AmericaTeVe political TV show