From the scenic coastlines of Virginia to the sandy beaches of Hawaii, the newly-elected 116th Congress has brought a new wave of potential ocean champions to the halls of the U.S. Capitol. A new congress represents a clean slate for all members of Congress. We’re excited to work with both freshmen and returning members on behalf of our ocean and the people who depend on it.
Here are five new freshman members to watch in 2019:
South Carolina’s 1st Congressional District: Rep. Joe Cunningham (D)
Congressman-elect Joe Cunningham is a former attorney with a degree in ocean engineering. Cunningham will represent a large portion of South Carolina’s coast, including Hilton Head Island. He is a staunch opponent of drilling off the coast of South Carolina.
Florida’s 17th Congressional District: Rep. Greg Steube (R)
Greg Steube is a former Florida State Senator and former member of the Florida House of Representatives. He’s also a lawyer and Army veteran. Steube will represent a portion of the southwestern coast of Florida. On red tide, Steube has emphasized the dire need to address the source of the problem, stating that he voted for a bill supporting a $2 billion infrastructure project that included a reservoir to hold off polluted runoff and raising the height of Herbert Hoover Dike.
Florida’s 26th Congressional District: Rep. Debbie Mucarsel-Powell (D)
Debbie Mucarsel-Powell is no stranger to ocean issues, having worked with the Coral Restoration Foundation as well and the Zoo Miami Foundation. Mucarsel-Powell also worked as the director of development for Florida International University. She will represent the southern-most portion of Florida. Mucarsel-Powell has called for investments in clean energy and reductions in greenhouse gas emissions to address climate change.
Hawaii’s 1st Congressional District: Rep. Ed Case (D)
Ed Case is a former U.S. Congressman and former Hawaii State Representative. Case will represent the southwestern portion of O’ahu, including Honolulu. While in the House of Representatives, Case sponsored the Coral Reef Conservation and Protection Act of 2005. He was also an original cosponsor of H.3692, the Marine Debris Research, Prevention and Reduction Act.
Virginia’s 2nd Congressional District: Rep. Elaine Luria (D)
Elaine Luria is a former business owner and retired Navy veteran. She will represent a coastal district of Virginia, including Virginia Beach and suburbs of Norfolk. Luria has highlighted the safety risk posed by offshore oil platforms and the security threat posed by climate change. She also supports efforts to develop offshore wind turbines and restore the Chesapeake Bay.