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To have a future, Republicans need to back clean energy solutions

(AP Photo/Bob Edme)

(AP Photo/Bob Edme)

Coming of age during the most technologically innovative time in history has sparked a national conversation on the future of our energy. Namely, where will our energy come from, how it will be harvested, and the manner in which it will be consumed.

Millennials are uniquely positioned to leave a legacy of energy solutions that will have results for everyday Americans by creating jobs, strengthening the economy, and preserving the environment for future generations.

February is always an exciting time in our nation’s capital with thousands of conservative millennials traveling to Washington to attend the annual Conservative Political Action Conference. From healthcare to foreign policy, to clean energy, important discussions were held this past week around a wide range of issues that matter greatly to highly engaged younger voters.

As a millennial Republican, I believe incorporating conservative, free market principles and commonsense leadership into the national clean energy conversation will help streamline innovative energy technology while also creating important solutions to preserve the environment. After all, clean energy is not a partisan issue, and for many Americans across the country, it’s personal.

Recent polling from a national survey conducted by Citizens For Responsible Energy Solutions (CRES) found 86 percent of American voters between the ages 18 and 29 are more likely to vote for a candidate who backs clean energy. The future of our nation is demanding clean energy solutions. If Republicans want to earn millennial support, then they must make renewable energy policy a priority.

After college, I moved to the Miami-Dade area of Florida, which is home to two of the state’s most precious national treasures: the Everglades and the Keys. Life in Florida introduced me to how clean energy policy can transcend partisanship.

Rep. Carlos Curbelo (R-FL), a millennial congressman elected in 2014, is a key ally in the effort to advance clean energy reforms across both sides of the aisle. Curbelo has taken action to promote free market, clean energy solutions that grow the economy, strengthen America’s national security, and provide affordable energy to homes and businesses. He also led the way in securing $3 million in funding for the Florida Keys Water Quality Improvement Program, a critical project to preserve diverse wildlife and the National Marine Sanctuary ecosystem.

I am also encouraged by the leadership of Rep. Elise Stefanik (R-NY), another millennial lawmaker who’s making waves on Capitol Hill. As the youngest woman serving in Congress, Stefanik is not only a trailblazer for millennial women such as myself, but she also stands out as a strong advocate of a substantive clean energy policy agenda. In 2015, Rep. Stefanik voted to protect $2 billion of funding for innovative clean energy research within the Department of Energy. She also co-sponsored the POWER Act, legislation that included critical tax credits to support increased development of wind and solar power.

Like most millennials, it’s the life experiences I’ve been blessed to enjoy that have inspired me to analyze how renewable energy innovations can create jobs and a safer living environment for millions of Americans. Everyone, regardless of age or party affiliation, enjoys the resources our planet has to offer. As a Republican who wants to see the party continue its success in the future, I am hopeful that more GOP policymakers will follow the lead of millennial clean energy champions like Carlos Curbelo and Elise Stefanik to ensure that market-based, clean energy reforms are in place for generations to come.

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