DECISION 2021: Mayoral Candidates Say ‘We Don’t Need No Fossil-Fuel Money’

Every hopeful but one rejects energy and auto interests in Streetsblog's survey of the field.

The mayoral candidates pictured with the building of their dreams.
The mayoral candidates pictured with the building of their dreams.
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Federal, state and local candidates may join office-holders as varied as Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and President-elect Biden in signing the “No Fossil Fuel Money Pledge,” an initiative of a number of environmental organizations to build grassroots support for taking on the oil, gas and automotive-adjacent industries. It’s a pretty simple oath — “I pledge not to take contributions over $200 from oil, gas, and coal industry executives, lobbyists, and PACs and instead prioritize the health of our families, climate, and democracy over fossil-fuel-industry profits” — and all kinds of local candidates have lined up to take it.

Following is what 10 mayoral candidates answered when Streetsblog asked: “Do you promise not to take campaign money from automobile or fossil-fuel interests?” (Ray McGuire is the lone candidate to refuse to respond to Streetsblog’s questions.)

This is the fifth of daily rollouts of the candidates’ thoughtful and often-voluminous answers, which should provide safe-streets activists with a roadmap of where the hopefuls stand on our issues (the previous four installments focused on safe streets, “free” parking, a car-free Manhattan and their records on stopping reckless drivers). At the end of the series, we’ll post all seven installments in one place for easy reference.

Eric AdamsERIC ADAMS: I do not accept or solicit corporate money, and my record clearly demonstrates a track record of independence.

In fact, I am the only candidate in the race who continues to push for a 100 percent publicly financed election system.

Shaun-DonovanSHAUN DONOVAN: Yes, and on Sept. 23, I made a public pledge by signing the “No Fossil Money Pledge.”

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Kathryn-GarciaKATHYRYN GARCIA: I have spent my entire city career working to advance sustainability. I was proud to pilot the first fully electric mechanical street sweeper (broom) and the first fully electric garbage truck in New York City at the Department of Sanitation.

This equipment is potentially revolutionary when it comes to city fleet emissions and it was produced by leading automotive companies. In order to achieve our goals, we need to incentivize our private sector to step up, by committing city dollars to drive the development of new products. I believe that everyone must have a seat at the table, and I will only accept campaign contributions from organizations that I am aligned with that can help us achieve our goals.

Zach-IscolZACH ISCOL: Campaign Finance Board rules dictate that candidates are already prohibited from accepting any money from corporations or special interests. That said, we need to be clear that there is no such thing as clean energy.

We must get people to start being conservation-minded and using less energy, not giving them a feel-good excuse to use more.

Ray McGuire: Did not respond.

carlos-menchacaCARLOS MENCHACA: I have pledged not to take any money from automobile or fossil-fuel interests.

I’m proud that throughout my career I have always stood up against these interests through activism and legislation.

In fact, I have joined the call to have city pensions divest from the toxic fossil-fuel industry.

Dianne-Morales-2DIANE MORALES: Yes!

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Scott-StringerSCOTT STRINGER: I am proud to have taken the “No Fossil Fuel Money Pledge,” which calls on candidates to reject the big money of the fossil-fuel industry and is endorsed by Sunrise Movement,, and Public Citizen, among others.

I also do not accept contributions from corporations or contract lobbyists, regardless of the industries involved, and have additionally self-imposed a prohibition on contributions from real estate developers. As the comptroller who led New York City to become the first major public-pension fund in America to commit to divestment from fossil fuels, and as someone who has consistently fought to invest in public transit, transform our streetscapes, and reduce our reliance on cars, I do not anticipate receiving support from anyone with an interest in perpetuating the status quo.

Loree-Sutton-2LOREE SUTTON: I weigh every investment or contribution to my campaign on its individual merits and do not arbitrarily eliminate or censor broad categories, whether individuals, companies or entire industries. Bad actors exist in every human enterprise;  if we are going to solve our city’s problems, we need everyone at the table, including those interests who are in a position to contribute in crafting and implementing sustainable and responsible solutions.

Rest assured I will shun those who demonstrate intentions and actions contrary to or even in opposition to this process of inclusion.

Maya-wileyMAYA WILEY: Yes. I have committed to decline any corporate or lobbyist contributions. This includes automobile and fossil-fuel interests.

My thinking around this and all other issues will be guided by what is best for New Yorkers — not corporate or special interests.

Isaac-Wright-2ISAAC WRIGHT Jr.: Let me be clear: Corporations have no say in our campaign. We have only accepted contributions from individuals, and its been overwhelming the amount of support we’ve received so far.

I think the candidate who wins this election is going to be the one that understands the challenges the community is facing, as well as the challenges the community was facing before the pandemic.


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