Everybody in Illinois deserves clean air to breathe and clean water to drink.

During my term in Springfield, I have been proud to stand with our environmental community in the fight to protect our open lands and natural resources and to promote renewable energy sources that will help us battle climate change.

Over the past two years, I have worked alongside advocates from the Illinois Environmental Council, the Illinois Chapter of the Sierra Club, and DuPage County’s own SCARCE (School & Community Assistance for Recycling and Composting Education).

Together, we passed new laws to prevent coal ash pollution, expand wind energy production and prohibit the manufacture and distribution of paper made with toxic BPA. We also created the Statewide Material Management Advisory Committee, which brings together business owners and environmental advocates from all around Illinois to come up with ways to reduce waste, expand recycling, protect the environment and encourage economic development.

Joining forces with DuPage County legislators on both sides of the aisle, I helped to pass tough new restrictions to protect our communities from Sterigenics’ toxic emissions. The laws we passed will hold polluters accountable and bring peace of mind to families living in communities near these dangerous industrial plants.

Moving forward, we need to stop listening to extremists who still don’t “believe in” the reality of climate change. Instead, we need to work to create 21st century jobs in wind, solar and other renewable and clean energies, and we need to make sure our workers have the training they need to succeed in the new clean energy economy. That’s why I strongly support the Future Energy Jobs Act (FEJA), which will provide new jobs in our communities while helping to clean up our environment. Illinois has the capacity to become a leader in the new green energy economy, and I think we need to invest now to create new jobs and provide training for the future workforce.

We need to fight together at the state and local levels to launch a clean energy revolution and battle the shadowy special interests who threaten our environment, our health, our safety, and our lives.