Recently, the Washington Post wrote about “the increasingly narrow line Democrats in Virginia must walk to satisfy environmentalists and campaign donors without alienating business interests.” After running through some of those issues – draft EPA regulations aimed at reducing carbon pollution from existing power plants; a “proposed 550-mile natural gas pipeline through the heart of the state” — the Post article quoted former VCU political science professor Bob Holsworth that “the political stakes are relatively low for Democrats who don’t deliver what green groups want,” as at least for the moment, “environmentalists don’t have the same juice within the Democratic Party as do tea partiers in the GOP.” According to Holsworth, Gov. McAuliffe “has just made a calculation on this…[that it] isn’t a political liability until we see that these environmental groups are able to develop grass-roots traction to be able to successfully oppose this.”
In response, Mike Casey – the founder and president of Tigercomm, a leading cleantech Public Relations firm based in Arlington – says “Good point, Bob Holsworth. I accept your challenge.”
So what, you say? Who’s Mike Casey and why should we care? Well, for starters, he’s a veteran of Virginia politics – including the successful effort to turn the Virginia Senate blue in 2009. In addition, Casey designed and ran the 2013 communications effort for Tom Steyer’s NextGen Climate Action in the Virginia governor’s race.
Of course, the views expressed above are Casey’s own, personal opinions. Still, I find it fascinating that someone with the political “juice” and connections that Casey has would go out of his way to accept Bob Holsworth’s challenge regarding environmentalists’ ability to oppose projects like Dominion Power’s huge, fracked natural gas pipeline proposal. It will be interesting to see what happens as this one plays out.
P.S. Full disclosure: I have consulted to Tigercomm for several years.