Election 2023 Recap: Big Pro-Environment Wins in Pennsylvania to Celebrate

However, billionaires and corporate polluters will spare no expense to protect and pad their profits at the expense of the planet. We must remain vigilant heading into 2024.
Photo courtesy of Markus Spiske/Pexels.

Up and down the ballot, from right here in Bucks County to all corners of Pennsylvania, last week’s elections were full of big wins for pro-environment and pro-democracy candidates. At the top of this year’s ticket, the election of Daniel McCaffery to the PA Supreme Court is of paramount importance. 

Supreme Court Justice-elect McCaffery’s victory is an affirmation of our constitutional right to “clean air, pure water” and the preservation of the environment. Conservation Voters of PA is proud to have supported his campaign and, like our allies in the environmental movement, we are encouraged that the PA Supreme Court will continue to prioritize the health and welfare of Pennsylvanians by vigorously defending environmental protection. 

Allies of his opponent spared no expense to distract voters. Thankfully, voters saw through the cynical distortions and smears to deliver a margin of more than 200,000 votes for McCaffery.

Here in Bucks County, the re-election of the bipartisan trio of county commissioners, Robert J. Harvie, Diane M. Ellis-Marseglia and Gene DiGirolamo, is another important win for the environment. All three commissioners have demonstrated a willingness to work across the aisle and a strong commitment to their constituents by supporting robust environmental protections. Commissioners Harvie, Ellis-Marseglia and DiGirolamo understand that protecting the environment and growing the economy are not competing priorities but rather complementary ones, and we look forward to working with them in the days to come.

Across the state in Southwestern PA, voters decisively elected a strong environmental advocate in Allegheny County Executive-elect Sara Innamorato. Throughout her tenure in the state House of Representatives, she was a champion of environmental protection and safeguarding the health and welfare of Pennsylvanians, particularly those living in environmental justice communities. We look forward to Innamorato making transformative investments in the growing clean energy economy and protecting communities’ clean air and water in southwestern Pennsylvanians.

Statewide, more than 90 percent of candidates who were endorsed by Conservation Voters of PA were victorious despite a vigorous and well-funded opposition. Billionaires and allies of corporate polluters invested millions of dollars in the Supreme Court race and the Allegheny County Executive race. The ads funded by their contributions aimed to distract voters from their willingness to put greed and profits before the health and welfare of Pennsylvanians. For our part, Conservation Voters of PA and its environmental allies invested more than $350,000 and devoted hundreds of staff and volunteer hours to grassroots efforts to turnout voters.

Considering the recent Commonwealth Court decision striking down the state’s participation in the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI), the stakes of our statewide judicial elections have never been higher. Billionaires and allies of corporate polluters will spare no expense to protect their profits and further their greed, and we must remain vigilant to protect against their efforts to monopolize the policymaking and legislative processes.

As we look ahead to 2024, Conservation Voters of PA and its allies urge Pennsylvanians to be on watch against efforts to roll back environmental protections or stall the existential fight against climate change. We should be proud of our successes this election cycle, but must remain committed to protecting our environment and the health, safety and welfare of our communities in the coming year.

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Picture of Molly Parzen

Molly Parzen

Molly Parzen is Executive Director of Conservation Voters of Pennsylvania, a statewide environmental advocacy group.

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