The Sierra Club, the nation’s largest grassroots environmental organization, endorsed Oakland City Councilmember Dan Kalb for the California State Assembly District 15 seat Thursday.
The seat is currently held by Assemblymember Tony Thurmond and is being vied for by nine other candidates. Norman La Force, an active member of the Sierra Club’s San Francisco Bay Chapter, said the Sierra Club is endorsing Kalb because he has been a longtime advocate and leader in environmental issues.
Kalb previously worked as the director of the Sierra Club’s Loma Prieta chapter. As an Oakland council member, Kalb addressed a major issue for the Sierra Club by ending the transport and shipment of coal through the city’s port, which mitigated climate change effects and health impacts, according to La Force.
Kalb said he is honored and thrilled by the club’s endorsement.
“I’m someone who they (the Sierra Club) realize will not only vote the right way but be a leader for those issues,” Kalb said. “They know me, know my career, know my history, know of my leadership on a whole range of environmental issues.
Kalb added that he has a long history in environmental leadership: He served as policy director for the Union of Concerned Scientists for nine years, is a past president of StopWaste — Alameda County’s recycling and waste authority — and is currently vice chair of the East Bay Community Energy Board of Directors.
“There’s a dearth of people (in the state Assembly) who have a solid background and expertise in environmental issues,” Kalb said. “There are good people who vote the right way, but it’s another thing to be a leader who understands and can speak to these issues as an expert.”
Beckles added that the Sierra Club is showing its appreciation for what Kalb, a longtime member, has done for the organization.
To accomplish his environmental platform of promoting clean energy and implementing effective climate solutions, among other things, Kalb said he will go beyond just voting for other people’s bills. Instead, Kalb said he will introduce bills himself and work with key advocates of environmental policy reform.
“(The Sierra Club) is one of those organizations that has (an) impact on a large number of voters,” Kalb said. “Their endorsement means a lot personally and for the campaign.”