Power Plant Battle Follows Governor Raimondo To Washington D.C.
Above Photo: Smoke stacks at a coal-fired power plant near Cincinnati in the US. Photo by Robert S. Donovan
Lee Stewart entered the JPM Chase United States Capitol Visitor Center in Washington DC and followed the signs to the forum. When he got to the desk, he asked if he could attend, even though he hadn’t pre-registered. The people at the desk registered him and gave him a name tag. Stewart then found the room where Rhode Island Governor Gina Raimondo was sharing the stage with Senator Tim Kaine (D-VA), Senator Tim Scott (R-SC), House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA); Governor Mary Fallin (R-OK) and Michael Bloomberg and sat down and waited.
When Raimondo began to speak Stewart stood up and said, “Governor Raimondo, I have a a very simple message for you from the people of Rhode Island, so many people in your state and that is ‘No New Power Plant. No New Power Plant.’”
The room turned to look at Stewart, but no one asked him to leave and security let him stand there as Raimondo spoke for five minutes on the subject of career education and economic opportunity. Then Stewart tried again. “No New Power Plant!” Stewart chanted as he removed himself from the room. Security followed him out. In the hallway, Stewart was asked how he found the forum and how he got a name tag. He was threatened with arrest if he ever did this again, and was allowed to leave.
“I think that it’s critical that we start building strong community across geographic areas and unite struggles with people fighting fossil-fuel projects locally,” said Stewart, a 29-year-old organizer with Beyond Extreme Energy. Attentive readers might remember that Stewart was one of three activists who locked themselves to the doors of Textron in downtown Providence to protest the company’s manufacturing of cluster munitions. “We need to support each other’s struggles if we want to start to change the system.”
Governor Raimondo’s office did not immediately reply to a request for comment.
You can watch Raimondo and the rest at the forum here: