The Clean Water Blog

Clean Water 50 Stories: Rep Frank Hornstein

Clean Water 50 Stories: Representative Frank Hornstein

In honor of Clean Water Action's 50th birthday, we are lifting up voices and stories in the Clean Water movement through #CleanWater50Stories. Our story is the story of everyday people who have used their power to make a difference to create a healthier and greener future for all. Meet Minnesota Representative Frank Hornstein!

Representative Hornstein served as Clean Water Action Minnesota Co-Director and Organizing Director from 1988 until 1994, during which time the Minnesota Environmental Trust Fund was passed, a proposed incinerator was halted, solid waste laws strengthened, and a national "Polluters Pay" campaign was kicked off. He continues his amazing leadership fighting for clean water in the Minnesota legislature, and recorded his story on location in the Land of 10,000 Lakes.

"On this 50th anniversary of the founding of Clean Water Action, I honor David Zwick, of blessed memory, whose vision and passion helped pass the Clean Water Act. He developed countless effective environmental leaders, and built Clean Water Action into an effective and powerful voice for a better world." - Rep Hornstein

 

 

Hello everybody, I'm Frank Hornstein coming to you from Minneapolis, Minnesota. This is Dakota territory, the ancestral home of the Dakota people. I'm standing at Bde Maka Ska, Lake White Earth. I served as the Co-Director and Organizing Director of Clean Water Action here in Minneapolis between 1988 and 1994.

And it's very appropriate that we stand here at this beautiful lake, because it was Clean Water Action in the early 1990s that was one of the first organizations to call attention to mercury pollution in these lakes. We identified the source as coal fired power plants and garbage incinerators, and my favorite memory of Clean Water Action was our work over years to successfully stop a large garbage incinerator in the suburbs just to the south of here.

We worked on that campaign with grassroots citizens organizations. We utilized three different strategies to stop that large polluting project: we used good public policy, in combination with grassroots organizing and lobbying, and worked on elections to get pro environment and anti incinerator candidates elected to the county board.

That's how we stopped that project.

And we were utilizing what the great, late Paul Wellstone, United States Senator from Minnesota, called "The Wellstone Triangle". Employing again: good public policy, in combination with elections, and grassroots organizing.

That's what makes Clean Water Action unique and special in the environmental movement. So thank you for 50 years! Thank you for giving me the opportunity to learn and grow as a leader. Now I serve in the Minnesota House of Representatives thanks to the experience that I got at Clean Water Action.

Thank you for 50 years, let's continue our work together for 50 more great years and beyond! We need Clean Water Action in this moment now more than ever.

50 Years of Action for Clean Water is Worth Celebrating! Share your own Clean Water Story, read and watch more #CleanWater50Stories, and join us at our National 50th Anniversary Celebration & Wine Tasting (Virtual Event!) on October 19th - RSVP here.