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NextGen urges students to quiz candidates about climate change


Photo by Carl Wycoff
Photo by Carl Wycoff

Zack Davis, the State Director of NextGen Climate, toured college campuses in Sioux City, Ames, Cedar Falls and Iowa City last week to push his group’s message into the forefront of the Iowa caucuses. Davis spoke with fellow students about transitioning to a 50 percent clean energy energy production goal by 2030, encouraging them to question Iowa caucus candidates about their stances and plans to get to #50by30.

Last week’s SCOPE-produced CHVRCHES concert after the University of Iowa homecoming parade was part of NextGen’s collaboration with Reverb, which brought a week of concerts and a climate message across the state.

Davis and NextGen are exhorting students to ask questions at political events to challenge candidates to address climate change.

He said almost three-quarters of 18-35 year-olds in battleground states like Iowa support a plan (and presidential candidates with plans) to get to “50 by 30.”

Iowa is already a leader in wind farming which creates almost 7,000 jobs in the Hawkeye state. Wind is expected to make up 40 percent of Iowa’s total in-state energy production within the next five years, and solar energy production is gaining in Iowa as well.

A plan for 50 percent clean energy “sends a strong signal that America is ready to lead on this and build a clean energy economy,” Davis said.

Through a network of ten offices across the state, NextGen Climate Iowa has over 500 active volunteers canvassing, phone banking and attending political events at 20 different campuses in Iowa.

NextGen was founded by billionaire Tom Steyer, a retired hedge fund manager and leading Democratic fundraiser.

The national NextGen group ran a Snapchat ad during the first Republican presidential debate in August.