On May 7th, Clean Water Action California hosted our first Environmental Champions award dinner. We had the pleasure of honoring former chair of the State Water Resources Control Board, Felicia Marcus, Assemblymember Eduardo Garcia, and Senator Bill Monning.
The evenings remarks cohered around the important work Clean Water Action is able to undertake in partnership with environmental champions in government. Andria Ventura, Clean Water Action’s Toxics Program Manager, and Jennifer Clary, our Water Program Manager, introduced the evening’s honorees.
Senator Bill Monning and Assemblymember Eduardo Garcia, both key players in the ongoing fight for a Safe and Affordable Drinking Water Fund, spoke to the importance of community organizing, working as part of a coalition, and staying with an issue even if it takes multiple legislative cycles for it to gain any traction. Clary spoke of her gratitude both for Assemblymember Garcia's willingness to join the coalition of advocates pursuing a Safe and Affordable Drinking Water Fund, and for Monning's commitment to the fund over the past two and a half years.
Felicia Marcus discussed her work with Andria Ventura on designating fishing and tribal cultural practices as beneficial uses of the San Francisco Bay, and talked about other drinking water campaigns Clean Water Action has been involved in, including work on Hexavalent Chromium in drinking water. She also mentioned the disjuncture between the huge importance of protecting drinking water and the small number of advocates focused on drinking water specifically. In her introduction, Ventura emphasized Marcus’ ability to bring stakeholders together to compromise and move forward on the wonky, thorny, easily-overlooked sorts of issues that can have profound and lasting impacts on our water.
All of the evening’s speakers returned to the theme of creating and sustaining the robust coalitions needed to solve the most pressing issues threatening our water and our most vulnerable residents.
As we continue our advocacy efforts in another busy legislative session, we look forward to ongoing opportunities to partner with Felicia Marcus, Assemblymember Garcia, and Senator Monning.