In case you missed it – One of the most vocal climate change deniers in Congress has announced his retirement. Representative Lamar Smith announced earlier this month that he will not seek reelection after his term ends in a year.
Lamar Smith represents Texas’ 21st US Congressional District, which includes downtown and south Austin, as well as large swaths of the Hill Country and parts of San Antonio. Smith has represented the district since 1987.
He is the current chairman of the U.S. House Science, Space and Technology Committee and has been accused of using his powers to subpoena emails from climate scientists and attorneys general, in order to intimidate them or discredit their work. More recently, he has written that a changing climate could actually be a good thing, by melting the arctic sea ice and allowing for more commercial shipping lanes in the area.
“The use of fossil fuels and the byproducts of carbon enrichment play a large role in advancing the quality of human life by increasing food production to feed our growing population, stimulating the economy, and alleviating poverty,” Smith wrote in a July op-ed in the Daily Signal. (The op-ed was actually written not too long after Smith returned home from a trip to the Arctic to meet with climate scientists).
Earlier today, State Representative Jason Isaac, a Republican who represents Drippings Springs, announced that he is running to replace Smith after he retires. Several Democrats have already tossed their hats into the ring, including Joseph Kopser (a veteran and local entrepreneur), Elliott McFadden(Executive Director of Austin B-cycle), Mary Wilson (a local pastor), and Derrick Crowe (a local progressive organizer and former Congressional staffer). The Race To Replace Lamar Smith has put together a list of Democrats considering a run for Texas’ 21st US Congressional seat, which you can check out here.