In Focus

Election 2020:

Where Candidates for Congress Stand

Illinois

1ST DISTRICT

Bobby L Rush

Democratic

U.S. House, Illinois 1

Incumbent 

1.         WHAT ARE THE BEST WAYS THAT CONGRESS CAN HELP TO REDUCE THE ENERGY AND WATER CONSUMPTION OF BUILDINGS TO HELP MAKE THEM MORE SUSTAINABLE?

 

Congressional mandates and the reinvigoration of existing programs, like the Federal Energy Management Program and Energy Savings Performance Contracts, are important tools in reducing the federal government’s water and energy consumption and in guiding the nation in achieving similar policies. This is why I am a proud author of the CLEAN Future Act, a proposal to put the U.S. on a path to a clean energy economy, which includes federal building sustainability provisions.

 

2. WHICH OF THESE SUSTAINABLE BUILDING POLICIES DO YOU SUPPORT AND WOULD WORK TO ENACT IF ELECTED?

 

a. Set benchmarking requirements for commercial buildings and encourage cities and states to adopt performance-based standards for buildings, b. Provide rebates to homeowners who invest in energy efficiency improvements, c. Provide incentives to states and localities to adopt the most up-to-date energy building codes, d. Renew and expand tax incentives for energy efficient buildings, e. Require federal buildings to meet aggressive energy efficiency and carbon reduction targets, f. Provide support to states and localities to make buildings more resilient from natural hazards and disasters, g. Invest in the retrofitting of schools, community centers, libraries and other civic buildings to improve occupant safety and reduce energy consumption, especially in underserved communities, h. Conduct research into the most promising technologies, products and materials that improve occupant health and reduce transmission of contagious disease while saving energy, xpand federal government programs to provide funding for sustainable or retrofitted low-income housing buildings

 

3.         IF ELECTED, WHAT STEPS WILL YOU TAKE TO ENSURE THAT ALL AMERICANS, REGARDLESS OF SOCIOECONOMIC STATUS, ARE ABLE TO BENEFIT FROM HEALTHY AND SUSTAINABLE BUILDINGS?

 

I would support and expand federal programs, like the Weatherization Assistance Program, that reduces energy costs for low-income households through energy efficiency measures.

 

4.         IF ELECTED, WHAT STEPS WILL YOU TAKE TO TRAIN AND PREPARE PEOPLE FOR CLEAN ENERGY JOBS THAT ADVANCE SUSTAINABLE BUILDINGS AND BUILDING COMPONENTS?

 

Comprehensive policies are needed to address the climate crisis. Through these policies we must also ensure that we deploy clean energy technologies and equip a workforce to sustain those technologies. This is why I will advocate for the enactment of my bill, H.R. 1315, the Blue Collar to Green Collar Jobs Development Act, which would establish a first of its kind clean energy workforce development program within the Department of Energy. Through this program the Department of Energy would be tasked with producing training guidelines and issuing grants to support the training of prospective energy-related industry employees, which includes prospective sustainable building industry employees.

 

5.         ARE YOU WILLING TO WORK WITH THE BUILDING SECTOR TO MAKE SURE THAT TRANSFORMING BUILDINGS IS PART OF THE POLICY DEBATE IN CONGRESS, INCLUDING JOINING CAUCUSES THAT ADVOCATE FOR SUSTAINABLE BUILDING POLICIES? IF YES, HOW WILL YOU DO THAT?

 

As Chairman of the House Committee on Energy and Commerce’s Subcommittee on Energy, I appreciate the importance of coalition building to advance policies. This is also why I am a part of the Caucus on Smart Cities, Grid Innovation Caucus, and House Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Caucus. During the next session of Congress, I will continue to pursue policies and partnerships that enable sustainable building practices — especially those policies that benefit low-income communities.

 

6.         DO YOU HAVE ANY PREVIOUS EXPERIENCES RELATED TO SUSTAINABLE BUILDINGS (E.G., SUPPORTING LEGISLATION IN ELECTED OFFICE, MADE ENERGY EFFICIENCY IMPROVEMENTS TO A HOME, OFFICE, COMMUNITY-WIDE, ETC.)?

 

I am one of the principal authors of the CLEAN Future Act which would establish national energy savings targets, create a residential energy efficiency program, and provide states assistance to adopt these policies. Throughout this year, the Subcommittee on Energy, under my leadership, has held a series of hearings to assess these legislative options. I will support further consideration of these policies in the 117th Congress.

3RD DISTRICT

Marie Newman

Democratic

U.S. House, Illinois 3

 

1.         WHAT ARE THE BEST WAYS THAT CONGRESS CAN HELP TO REDUCE THE ENERGY AND WATER CONSUMPTION OF BUILDINGS TO HELP MAKE THEM MORE SUSTAINABLE?

 

I believe that Congress should develop a robust green stimulus package with funding for the development of green infrastructure and technology, including incentivising the construction of sustainable buildings, and the renovation of existing buildings to increase sustainability. This would not only help with addressing the climate crisis, but also create good-paying union jobs.

 

2. WHICH OF THESE SUSTAINABLE BUILDING POLICIES DO YOU SUPPORT AND WOULD WORK TO ENACT IF ELECTED?

 

a. Set benchmarking requirements for commercial buildings and encourage cities and states to adopt performance-based standards for buildings, b. Provide rebates to homeowners who invest in energy efficiency improvements,

c. Provide incentives to states and localities to adopt the most up-to-date energy building codes,

d. Renew and expand tax incentives for energy efficient buildings,

e. Require federal buildings to meet aggressive energy efficiency and carbon reduction targets,

f. Provide support to states and localities to make buildings more resilient from natural hazards and disasters,

g. Invest in the retrofitting of schools, community centers, libraries and other civic buildings to improve occupant safety and reduce energy consumption, especially in underserved communities,

h. Conduct research into the most promising technologies, products and materials that improve occupant health and reduce transmission of contagious disease while saving energy

 

3.         IF ELECTED, WHAT STEPS WILL YOU TAKE TO ENSURE THAT ALL AMERICANS, REGARDLESS OF SOCIOECONOMIC STATUS, ARE ABLE TO BENEFIT FROM HEALTHY AND SUSTAINABLE BUILDINGS?

 

I would prioritize developing green infrastructure projects in underserved communities to combat both inequity in infrastructure investment and the inequity in health outcomes that occurs when low-income communities bear the brunt of pollution and the effects of climate change. I am also focused on investing in green public transit, particularly in transportation deserts, to ensure equitable access to public transit.

 

4.         IF ELECTED, WHAT STEPS WILL YOU TAKE TO TRAIN AND PREPARE PEOPLE FOR CLEAN ENERGY JOBS THAT ADVANCE SUSTAINABLE BUILDINGS AND BUILDING COMPONENTS?

 

I am a strong supporter of increasing funding for vocational training programs to provide students with the skills needed to capitalize on the clean energy jobs that would emerge from a green stimulus package. Additionally, we must prioritize building these programs in areas that may experience job loss as a result of the transition away from fossil fuels.

 

5.         ARE YOU WILLING TO WORK WITH THE BUILDING SECTOR TO MAKE SURE THAT TRANSFORMING BUILDINGS IS PART OF THE POLICY DEBATE IN CONGRESS, INCLUDING JOINING CAUCUSES THAT ADVOCATE FOR SUSTAINABLE BUILDING POLICIES? IF YES, HOW WILL YOU DO THAT?

 

I have a very close relationship with organized labor throughout my district, and will work closely with them and their representatives to advocate for investment in green, union jobs, including the development of sustainable buildings.

 

6.         DO YOU HAVE ANY PREVIOUS EXPERIENCES RELATED TO SUSTAINABLE BUILDINGS (E.G., SUPPORTING LEGISLATION IN ELECTED OFFICE, MADE ENERGY EFFICIENCY IMPROVEMENTS TO A HOME, OFFICE, COMMUNITY-WIDE, ETC.)?

 

I have worked on the LEED-certification process as a management consultant.

4TH DISTRICT

Jesús G. “Chuy” García

Democratic

U.S. House, Illinois 4

Incumbent

 

1.         WHAT ARE THE BEST WAYS THAT CONGRESS CAN HELP TO REDUCE THE ENERGY AND WATER CONSUMPTION OF BUILDINGS TO HELP MAKE THEM MORE SUSTAINABLE?

 

We can enact legislation that both expands current federal programs that incentivize increasingly energy efficiency standards for buildings as well as enact stricter requirements for compliance or retrofitting buildings.

Further more -- it is critical that we continue to promote both basic and commercial scientific research to improve energy efficiency technologies and promote industry innovation.

 

2. WHICH OF THESE SUSTAINABLE BUILDING POLICIES DO YOU SUPPORT AND WOULD WORK TO ENACT IF ELECTED?

 

a. Set benchmarking requirements for commercial buildings and encourage cities and states to adopt performance-based standards for buildings,

b. Provide rebates to homeowners who invest in energy efficiency improvements,

c. Provide incentives to states and localities to adopt the most up-to-date energy building codes,

d. Renew and expand tax incentives for energy efficient buildings,

e. Require federal buildings to meet aggressive energy efficiency and carbon reduction targets,

f. Provide support to states and localities to make buildings more resilient from natural hazards and disasters,

g. Invest in the retrofitting of schools, community centers, libraries and other civic buildings to improve occupant safety and reduce energy consumption, especially in underserved communities, \

h. Conduct research into the most promising technologies, products and materials that improve occupant health and reduce transmission of contagious disease while saving energy

 

3.         IF ELECTED, WHAT STEPS WILL YOU TAKE TO ENSURE THAT ALL AMERICANS, REGARDLESS OF SOCIOECONOMIC STATUS, ARE ABLE TO BENEFIT FROM HEALTHY AND SUSTAINABLE BUILDINGS?

 

There are two approaches -- carrots and sticks. First we should enact legislation that moves industry to strengthen energy efficiency standards. Scaled use of such technologies will also bring down the consumer cost to make these technologies cheaper for working class families. Example: energy efficient lightbulbs are no longer that pricey, relative to their cost when they first hit shelves.

The other approach is to simple mandate increasingly strict standards and place the onus on states and local governments to provide certain services to socioeconomically challenged communities (eg retrofitting schools, workplaces, etc)

 

4.         IF ELECTED, WHAT STEPS WILL YOU TAKE TO TRAIN AND PREPARE PEOPLE FOR CLEAN ENERGY JOBS THAT ADVANCE SUSTAINABLE BUILDINGS AND BUILDING COMPONENTS?

 

I will continue to support legislation that aligns with many of the workforce aims of the Green New Deal. This includes investing in a green energy economy AND workforce so that people of all ages and backgrounds can retrain and benefit from a burgeoning green economy.

By advancing legislation that promotes Buy America requirements as well as bills that require meeting high carbon reduction benchmarks, we can move the industry in this direction and scale up a robust green manufacturing sector.

 

5.         ARE YOU WILLING TO WORK WITH THE BUILDING SECTOR TO MAKE SURE THAT TRANSFORMING BUILDINGS IS PART OF THE POLICY DEBATE IN CONGRESS, INCLUDING JOINING CAUCUSES THAT ADVOCATE FOR SUSTAINABLE BUILDING POLICIES? IF YES, HOW WILL YOU DO THAT?

 

Yes -- I would be more than willing to work with the building sector and the building trades to make sure all affected parties have a seat at the table.

As I have done as a member of the House Committee on Transportation & Infrastructure -- I will continue to regularly seek input, counsel, and advice from those in building trades. I regularly hold roundtables with the many stakeholders in Chicago, and would continue to do so.

 

6.         DO YOU HAVE ANY PREVIOUS EXPERIENCES RELATED TO SUSTAINABLE BUILDINGS (E.G., SUPPORTING LEGISLATION IN ELECTED OFFICE, MADE ENERGY EFFICIENCY IMPROVEMENTS TO A HOME, OFFICE, COMMUNITY-WIDE, ETC.)?

 

Yes. I have supported dozens of bills to help green our building stock, legislation that promotes innovation in sustainable technologies, and have fought hard against efforts to weaken existing standards that hep lower our carbon footprint.

BuildingAction does not endorse candidates in primary or general elections. Nothing in this report should be construed as support or opposition to any candidate. Candidates and parties are listed alphabetically. BuildingAction made every effort to report on candidates’ positions accurately; any mistakes or omissions were inadvertent. Please email info@agoragov.com with any suggested corrections.)

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