Episode #22: How Does Your Phone Call Become Law? (transcript)
Quinn: Welcome to (laughter) Important, Not Important.
Quinn: My name is Quinn Emmett.
Brian: And I'm Brian Colbert Kennedy.
Quinn: And we got Teddy the Wonder Dog here. Teddy, say your name.
Brian: I wish.
Quinn: This is episode 22, and today's question is a little more ... What is the word the kids use? Wonky?
Brian: Yeah, kids use wonky.
Quinn: How does your phone call to a congressman eventually become a law? Our guest to day is Andres Jimenez, Senior Director of Government Affairs at the Citizens' Climate Lobby. He worked with Mr. Bloomberg, when he was mayor of New York for like 40 years. Yeah, for all the time. He handled government relations for the Ocean Conservancy. Love those guys. He's also a leading member of Green Latinos, a relatively new group. Boy, they're going to have a hell of a lot of sway in the coming decade.
Brian: Yeah. People have taken a lot of action, most for the very first time in the last year.
Quinn: White people.
Brian: White people, that's right. We wanted to dial it back a bit and pull back the curtain on how exactly your personal action gets translated into legislation, and influence the elected officials in Washington, so you're not going, like I really have, many times, "Did anybody listen to my voicemail? I called, I said a thing, they said, 'Okay. Thank you.' Does that mean anything?"
Quinn: "Did someone just hit Delete All?"
Quinn: Can I tell you ... My wife. I love her so much. More than anything.
Brian: She's wonderful.
Quinn: The greatest human that's ever walked the planet. A few years ago ... And to be clear, I fucking hate email, so much.
Brian: Yeah, you've always been anti-email since I've known you.
Quinn: It's just too much, right? It's too much. Too many people think they have permission to your inbox, but it is actually an effective way to communicate with my wife, or so I thought. You can go on a Mac, and in the mail thing, you can make a smart email inbox for all these things. All these different rules you can use, when it came in, who it came from, the day it came-
Brian: It's very helpful.
Quinn: ... does it include this data attachment? I made her a smart inbox that was literally just emails from me, just catching them, because she was always like, "I get so much. I couldn't find yours."
Brian: Like, "It's lost."
Quinn: "Sure. I'm going to make you a box that literally just grabs the things from me."
Brian: "This one's from Quinn."
Quinn: Can't miss it. Miss me? Click on it. It's right there. It shows you if you have a new one, right? Inbox, Quinn, and then a badge. Hey, you have a new email from me. Let me tell you something. Should you do that, don't then, a year later, glance to see how that's working, because you might see what I saw. It's like childbirth. There's things you can't un-see, which was like 1,200 unread emails from me.
Quinn: Not 1,200 unread emails, which you'd be like, I don't know, you probably missed something, probably a lot of newsletters and bills, but you probably missed something in there. No. 1,200 unread emails just from me. What's in there?
Brian: Holy cow.
Quinn: I mean, I send her some articles. I'm a little annoying about it, but what else is in there?
Brian: Did you guys go through it?
Quinn: No, I was stunned. I backed away from the computer, terrified. I mean, school, kids' schedules, anything.
Brian: Probably some important information.
Quinn: Plane tickets. Things you find out, Brian. Listen, one of my favorite websites, FiveThirtyEight, putting empirical data to a whole fun bunch of topics, from Mr. Nate Silver, has been owned by ESPN the past few years, moved over to ABC, to be a little more political, lose the sports side of it. One of their main culture contributors, a guy named Walt Hickey, went to William and Mary, what what. He is moving on and start his own. He used to run their little newsletter, which was like a, "The numbers inside the news," type of thing you get every morning. It's like, "Five numbers inside the news," very compelling. He's doing his own. He's moved on. It's going in Numlock News. You can subscribe, Numlock News. It's interesting. Here's one. Oysters are like this as well. I'm going to just quote this, "Mussels are filter feeders, and are a great way for scientists to measure contamination levels in bodies of water. Scientists scattered groups of mussels to 18 test locations around Puget Sound, off the coast of Seattle. In three of those test locations, the mussels tested positive for trace amounts of Oxycodone, because waste water management systems simply cannot filter out all of the drugs." End quote.
Brian: That's unreal.
Quinn: That's not great.
Brian: Holy cow.
Quinn: That's how bad the drug situation's gotten. Take that, and add it with the study that came out a couple months ago that said ... We know about all the plastic in the ocean, right? It's fucking terrible. It's the size of Texas, or whatever.
Brian: It's insanely bad.
Quinn: Ayana Johnson was just like, "You have no idea." They had that study that said that they found all the plastic microbeads. Six years ago, it was like, "Oh, there's microbeads in your shampoo." Turns out, they're also in your fucking bottles of water. Like 90% of the bottles they tested, and there was a quote. I'll find it and put it in the show notes, a scientist who essentially said, "We have no idea what they do to the body." Usually, the answer 10 years later isn't like, "Turns out, everything's fine." That's not the way it goes.
Brian: I hate when scientists don't know things yet. It's very scary, especially about something that I'm doing to myself several times a day. Drinking bottled water, are you kidding?
Quinn: These days, doesn't add up. Also, Brian, don't fucking drink bottled water, man.
Brian: Well, I usually actually just refill my one or two water bottles with filtered water from my refrigerator. What? That bad?
Quinn: We sell a reusable bottle on our store.
Brian: I do have that.
Quinn: They're great. Hot beverages, cold beverages. Really lovely. Check them out, and don't use bottled water.
Brian: I have one. I use it. I'm just saying, I already had the bottled water. Somebody gave it to me as a gift. I didn't purchase it.
Quinn: All I'm saying is all these choices of convenience we've made over the past few years-
Brian: Don't fucking ... I know.
Quinn: ... they're just starting to add up. What's that quote from Top Gun? Paraphrasing, "We're writing checks our bodies can't cash."
Brian: Yeah. All right, Maverick.
Quinn: Did you hear they started shooting Top Gun 2?
Brian: No. Are you serious?
Quinn: Yeah. Wait, do you love Top Gun like I love it?
Brian: Wait, is everybody in it?
Quinn: (singing) I mean, so good.
Brian: I don't think I love it like you love it, but it's a fun movie.
Quinn: I don't think Goose is in it.
Brian: Oh, right.
Quinn: Wouldn't it be cool if he came back like a Jedi ghost?
Brian: Yes. They can do that.
Quinn: Different tone, different movie.
Brian: It started shooting?
Brian: I'll have to look this up.
Quinn: They're making it. What do you think it's about?
Brian: I don't know. What happened at the end of it? I forgot.
Quinn: I think about this all the time. Our kids are just going to be super annoyed with us. They're growing up. I think at some point they're just going to realize how bad ... To be clear, our grandparents and our parents, but also us, we've talked about this, have fucked this place up. In some ways, it's turning around, but if we don't want to look terrible in their eyes, I mean, more so than we will, we've got some work to do.
Brian: We'd better start doing something. I don't even have kids yet. Maybe by the time I have kids-
Quinn: That you know of.
Brian: ... that I know of. I'm going to do the Ancestry.com, we'll see. By the time I have them-
Quinn: That's exactly how that works.
Brian: Right? Anyway. We're going to figure it out. My kids'll be fine.
Quinn: On that note, take some action, use something like FiveCalls.org to call your representative or congressperson, your senator, or town hall project, attend a town hall, find out why your representative isn't having them, and then listen to this particular episode to find out what they do with that information.
Brian: According to him, it's actually pretty impactful and powerful for you to do that, and it's easy as hell.
Quinn: Let's go hear from Andres how they use that stuff to try to go change the world.
Brian: Let's do it.
Quinn: Okay. Our guest today is Andres Jimenez, and together, we're going to ask, how does your phone call, assuming you've made one at this point-
Quinn: ... being angry after 2016, become law, especially when it comes to fighting for the climate? Andres, welcome.
Andres: Yes, thank you very much. Thanks for having me. Excited to be on today.
Quinn: For sure, man.
Brian: Very happy to have you. All right, so Andres, let's just start it off with, tell everybody who you are and what you do.
Andres: Sure. I'm Andres Jimenez. I'm the Senior Director of Government Affairs for Citizens' Climate Lobby. I came to DC 11 years ago from Chicago, where I went to school at DePaul University. I came to DC and immediately started working on the Hill, and I bounced around from California member to California member, so I worked for former Congressman Howard Berman, and current member Linda Sánchez, and also, Zoe Lofgren. I did three years on the Immigration Subcommittee. I then went to work for Mayor Bloomberg for four years. After that, I went to Ocean Conservancy, where I handled their National Fishery Management Ocean Acidification issues, and then I landed at Citizens' Climate Lobby. I've been here for over a year.
Quinn: Awesome, man.
Brian: Quite a resume.
Quinn: Yeah. We'll take it. Again, this happens with all of our guests, but it sounds just like Brian's resume.
Brian: I was going to go into mine, but now that you've gone into yours, we don't have to.
Quinn: It's just the same thing. It's just the same thing.
Andres: One nice thing is I was able to get that personal office experience as well at the committee experience, so a lot of times staffers either have one or the other, but I was able to see what it was like to be on the front lines working with constituents, and also what it was to do just three years of straight policy work.
Quinn: Sure, and I'm sorry, maybe I didn't hear that. When you were with Bloomberg, was that in a corporate capacity, or was that when he was Mayor of New York?
Andres: No, that's when he was Mayor of New York, so I was with him his whole extra last term. I was doing his national immigration and working on his federal housing issues.
Quinn: That's awesome, man, and boy, that was an interesting period of him just saying basically, "Yeah, we're just going to do this thing, and I'm going to pay for it," which was a really interesting way of doing business, and among other things, like the bike lanes. They just pushed those through, and it was controversial, but has really helped to change that city in a lot of ways.
Andres: Yeah, absolutely. He did a lot while I was there, whether it was tackling housing, or starting his immigration partnership, trying to work on comprehensive immigration reform. Also, he did the soda ban, and the cigarettes-
Brian: That's so awesome.
Andres: ... and again, like you mentioned, the bike share.
Quinn: It's both a positive and a negative that he is literally footing the bill to keep us in the climate deal, just writing checks, which is great, and obviously people are appreciative, but at the same time, we've got to stop relying on rich old white guys to do stuff. Thankful for it, but at the same time, boy, we got to fix this system, man.
Andres: Yeah, actually, we can't be dependent on, like you said, just one person to come in and try to write a check because we weren't willing to do things the right way.
Brian: Yeah, that might run out quickly.
Brian: All right, so let's set up our conversation for today. We are big believers in action-oriented questions, and you are a man of action, clearly. We like to think that our listeners are superheroes of action, so let's work today to empower them to take some specific actions with regards to your mission, which as far as I can tell is, I guess, to save the world. Are you trying to save the world?
Andres: Aren't we all? One day at a time.
Quinn: Yeah, no shit, man. Well, I guess on that note, Andres, we start with one important question to get to the heart of why you're on the telly today. Can I say that, Brian?
Brian: I think people still say telly, yeah, sure. Roll with that, Quinn.
Quinn: Just making me look like such an asshole. Look, Andres, instead of saying, "Tell us your life story," we like to ask why are you vital to the survival of the species?
Andres: That's a great question. I think we all are. We all have to do our part to continue to grow as a society, and as mankind, and if we don't take positive steps, we're doomed. We have one shot, at least as far as I know, to do the best we can while we're here, and so why not make that a very positive shot and try to make sure the future generations have that opportunity to also come in and do some good work?
Quinn: I love it, man. I love it. All right, so what we're going to do, our standard MO, is we provide a little context for today's topic, and that has evolved to become a contextual 101 class with a gentleman we like to call Professor Brian, who, to be clear, has zero credentials.
Brian: I have no credentials.
Quinn: In any capacity. Is up for no tenure position.
Andres: Those are the best kind.
Quinn: It's like a little piece of paper you see on a sign post, like, "Teach guitar lessons with Dave." That's the level of expert we're talking here.
Brian: Dave sounds like a nice guy.
Quinn: That's why we've got you here, Andres, to correct us. Sometimes these things are super technical, like explaining the history of antibiotics, and sometimes, for now, it's a little bit like ... You remember that old video that was like the piece of paper ... This was back in our school days. It was like, "Hey, kids, I'm a bill."
Brian: I'm just a bill.
Andres: Schoolhouse Rock.
Quinn: Yeah, Schoolhouse Rock.
Brian: Of course.
Quinn: Thank you. See, I knew you guys would ... I should just bow out today.
Quinn: Brian's going to do his version of that, which is going to be less good, but maybe a little more updated, and then we're going to get into exactly how you affect the process, and we're going to pester you with questions, so our folks can be as ruthlessly efficient as they can, as we barrel towards November 6th. Brian, get to it.
Brian: Here we go. Dave, teaching guitar lessons. All right, so here we go. For most of the last century, getting in touch with your congressperson meant either waiting until they had a local town hall, or you could write a letter, like an actual letter with a pen on paper. I don't remember the last time I held a pen.
Quinn: Good job. Keep going.
Brian: There was that, and then after a while, you could actually call them, which was very exciting. You could get them on the horn, or somebody who worked for them, and then last year ... Well, ever since, really, the hellish nightmare that was 2016, and the advancements in technology, of course, now there's a huge number of tools and platforms that enable you to, without seriously any effort-
Quinn: God, so easy.
Brian: ... let your existing congressperson know how you feel about stuff.
Quinn: Right, and that's a good point. There's so many of these things, and many of them popped up out of the progressive army, the resistance, as they call it. I love and am a big supporter, in a lot of ways, of FiveCalls.org. You can use the website, you can download the app on your phone. There's so many others, Town Hall Project, CallMyCongress.com.
Andres: So easy, right?
Quinn: Yeah, FiveCalls.org is like, "Hey, idiot. Listen." They're like, literally, "Mash your fat thumb against this button and then, if somebody picks up, literally just read this." Nobody cares how good you do a job reading it. They're literally just counting the call, and then you hit, "Did I talk to someone? Did I leave a voicemail, or did they not pick up?" All those things matter, and they compile the data, and it's all helpful. They couldn't make it easier, but every one of those literally counts because the congressperson's office is counting those things. Anyways, Brian, sorry. I could go on forever. Go ahead.
Brian: No, no, so that's what we want to talk about. What happens when you make those calls, and you get the congressperson or, like I said, in my experiences, maybe a staffer, or even a voicemail, but do they listen to you and they just go, "Oh shit. Fucking Mary's got a great point here," and scramble off to the House floor and start hammering out a bill? And honestly, seriously, what's a bill? We have the song.
Quinn: We're going to put a link to that, because oh God, I have a feeling 75% of our fucking listeners have no idea what that video is.
Brian: I love that. It was catchy.
Andres: Why don't we start with a constituent reaching out to an office and go from there? How does that sound?
Brian: Sounds all right.
Quinn: Yeah, all right. Yeah, all right, Brian. Finish up, Brian.
Brian: Sure. Generally, when you make these calls, they get counted, and the voicemails, and if it's something that they're about to vote on, the congressperson you're calling, or theoretically, they take everything into account, all those calls, all those emails, and it makes a difference for real, and we've seen that hold true in spades the past year.
Brian: Tax reform. Seriously, just call. Please just call.
Quinn: Right, but what about people not just like you, crazy person in your underwear calling.
Brian: Well, not crazy.
Quinn: Who else is putting pressure on these people?
Brian: Yeah, for good and evil? One of the many good groups is the Citizens' Climate Lobby. Ta-da.
Quinn: To be clear, we're clearly angled towards actionable, progressive folks and listeners. We have done our fair share, and we will always do more to reach out to folks who are trying to effect change. We've talked to a lot of conservative climate activists. This feels like a medical claim at the end of one of those-
Brian: You have to say it real fast.
Quinn: ... medicine ads on TV where you're just like, "Did they say deaf?"
Brian: Sure did.
Quinn: There's a variety of perspectives in politics. It's not just red or blue. This isn't the Obama speech, but it is, Democrat or Republican, good or bad. I hate the two-party system as much as you do. It's all very fucking complicated, but by good guys, I'm assuming, Brian, what you mean is people of all races, colors, genders, sexual orientations, who don't want a planet, the only habitable one we're aware of, to look like fucking Venus in 20 years.
Brian: Yes. Those are the good guys.
Quinn: Okay, got it. Anyways.
Brian: How does the Climate Lobby talk to these people? Do congresspeople actually listen to them? Do they have to leave voicemails too, or do you guys get in deeper? Do they get help with the bills, like you get to help with bills? And is that good or bad?
Quinn: That's what we're going to dig into today, which is how does your phone call become law, or not? Andres, we like to dial it back a lot of times. I hate to say dumb it down. It's mostly for Brian and I, but we do represent our listeners. How does a group like yours differ from someone like the NRDC, or 350.org? When you say Citizens' Climate Lobby, what are we talking about specifically?
Andres: Sure. The fantastic and amazing thing that I've been able to see this year, that Citizens' Climate Lobby does, that I've never seen any other organization do, is that they get folks into action, into congressional offices, they get them writing op-eds, calling, attending town halls, working with each other in the community, like no other group I've ever seen. You have a lot of different groups that say, "Yes, we have volunteers, and they're out there," but what's going on with Citizens' Climate Lobby is an actual movement. I think they just reached 100,000 folks on the ground. They have chapters all over the country. They have members in every single district, which is fantastic, and what's great about it is, these volunteers don't want to sit back and sign a petition anymore. They're pissed off about what's going on, and they want to do something.
Andres: They don't want to sit down and take it anymore, so they are writing to their newspaper. They are going to the Hill, going to their district offices, like you guys mentioned. They're calling in and talking about the issue, and that's really starting to make some headway. One of the things that Citizens' Climate Lobby does is they work with the Climate Solution Caucus in the House. It's a bipartisan caucus made up of about 78 members now, so it's one Republican or Democrat in at a time, so if you are a Republican, you want in, you have to bring a Democrat with you, and if you're a Democrat and want in the caucus, you have to bring a Republican with you. They have 78 now. This caucus hasn't been around for that long. The volunteers have been going to their members, they have been making meetings, bringing in business folks, bringing in local religious leaders to talk to their member about not only joining the Caucus, but being very proactive on climate change.
Andres: What's wonderful is sometimes they hit walls with some of these members, and they don't stop. They just try to go around it. They'll find ways. I'm on calls all the time with these volunteers that are like, "We went into such-and-such member's office, and they were like, 'No.' What do we do?" What do you do when you hit a wall with an office? You got to be creative. You got to find out what committees they're on, what their interests are, what community leaders they're listening to, and then you have to go after them that way. As an example, let's say one member is really into small business, bring in tons of folks from the small business community from your district, and have them talk to them. That'll perk them up. It's finding new ways and innovative ways to talk to members who might not always have been out on the issue of climate change.
Quinn: You're saying you've seen a big grassroots movement this year, right? Like, all these people involved.
Brian: How does that bubble up and reach you, as the tip of the sword?
Quinn: Yeah, so how do you, then, interact with those everyday citizens that are, like you said, going to do all those things, and then where you are more specifically involved in getting in and helping to provide language and develop bills and talking points, and things like that?
Andres: Sure, so where the volunteers are meeting and trying to form relationships, for the most part, in the district, because they're not flying out to DC and on the Hill all the time, I'm here in DC, and I'm doing more day to day lobbying. In any given week, I can be on the Hill three or four times that week. I'm meeting with old offices, and keeping those relationships up to date, and I'm meeting with newer offices, in both Democrat and Republican offices on the House and on the Senate, and just making sure that those relationships are at a good place, so that when the volunteers either go through the district, or they come to DC, the relationships have already been made where the volunteers are going to feel really comfortable coming into a meeting because the folks across from them have an idea of what Citizens' Climate Lobby is, what they do, and pretty much that we're not crazy. Most importantly, that we're not crazy.
Brian: Okay, cool, so you said you're the guy in DC who's on the ground there. Let's set that up. What does that mean? Take us through a typical day, a typical week in your shoes.
Andres: I think it depends a lot on what's going on. Citizens' Climate Lobby has been working really hard over the last couple of years to try to introduce a Carbon Fee and Dividend bill. If things are moving on that front with a couple of members, my week might be going and talking with staff or committee folks, and talking through the language, talking through the overall strategy of bill introductions, so that could be one day. Another day could be, we have our big lobby day coming up in two weeks, and so a lot of that could be prepping staff, or prepping offices for, "Hey, we're about to have 11 or 1,200 volunteers coming to DC to talk about some of our initiatives. Do you have any questions beforehand? Is there anything we can answer?" Trying to get everyone ready for those meetings to take place.
Andres: Then other meetings, again, going back to the Climate Solution Caucus, are just trying to get new members to joint that caucus. We're at 78, and we always want to push and see how many more members we can get, so it's going to offices and talking with the staff, and talking with the member, and trying to figure out if they're not on the Caucus already, "How can we get you on the Caucus?" And if they want to be on the Caucus but they can't find either a Republican to jump on with them, or if they're a Republican, they're looking for a Democrat to jump on, it's trying to place them with someone that makes sense to jump on with. It can either be focused on legislation, it can be focused on the Caucus, or it can just be network lobbying, just going in and introducing yourself and the organization, and just starting to make good relationships with those offices, hoping that both the staffer or the member will be there a little bit longer.
Quinn: Okay, that's super helpful. Again, we try to do this so everybody has a really firm grasp on these things. On three things you mentioned. First one, tell us a little bit more about the Caucus. How does a caucus like this work? Is it just the House? Is it the Senate too? How does it work, or why hasn't it saved the world yet? Go.
Andres: It's working toward saving the world. We're all, again, trying. The Caucus is not in the Senate. It's in the House. It was established by a Republican and a Democrat, Representative Deutch, from Florida, and Representative Curbello, also from Florida. Since then, they've started adding new members all across the country, so you have folks from California and Pennsylvania and Minnesota and New Jersey. One thing you want out of a strong caucus is not just to have it all from members from Florida, unless that's specifically what they're looking for. In a caucus like this, you want to make it as geographically diverse as possible. They embarked on trying to get a caucus that would talk about climate solutions, in various different ways.
Andres: One is to get members educated. One is to get members who might not have been out on this issue out, and talking about this issue, and standing next to them. They also do both staff briefings, where they bring in specialists to talk about anything from sea level rise to ocean acidification, all sorts of different issues, and they also do just member briefings, where some of those same experts, or new experts, briefing just the members and having close conversations. I think one of the most recent briefings was focused on the business community. How are businesses being impacted by climate change? A bunch of business leaders came in and they did a briefing and talked with these members of Congress, and let them know what was on their mind.
Quinn: Gotcha. Okay, and again, just so everybody understands, because I think so much of ... Not so much. I mean, Christ, you can point this in a thousand different directions, but a lot of people who care in this way are going, "All these things that Obama and his administration did to protect and secure the environment are being torn back down." How often does this caucus meet as a whole? How often does it meet in groups right now? How often are these briefings? I'm just trying to paint a picture for folks. Is it almost being run like the UK has their shadow government, where they're waiting for the next administration, so they're just educating themselves for now? Talk to me a little bit more about how the mechanics of a group like this, and this specific group, is working on a week to week, month to month, basis.
Andres: Sure, but just quickly to touch on what you said about the rollback to the Obama administration and everything they did. It's been very fascinating to me to see how long it took to put those in place, and how quickly they're being rolled back. It can take eight years to put in some really fantastic measures in place, to try to help and save our environment, and it only takes less than a year to push those things back.
Quinn: Yeah, well, and you can probably educate everyone on this a little bit as well, but a lot of these things were Obama's legal team discovering where and how they could apply the clean water and clean power plants, and trying to find the extent of those laws, and on the other hand, some of these things were executive actions, and the pros and cons of executive actions is that they can be undone just as quickly and as efficiently as they were created, because they're not law. We can celebrate those, but know that when somebody takes office, which, inevitably things change hands, just hopefully not in the apocalypse type situation that this has been, they can be undone very quickly like this, which is why we need to get a caucus like this involved. Anyway, yeah, if you could just paint the picture for us, again, so that people who are sitting here calling aren't frustrated going like, "I don't know who this caucus is. Do they just sign up and never get the newsletter? How often do they meet? Yada yada."
Andres: They're meeting, I would say, if not every month, every other month. Now, sometimes things are happening on the House floor, or there's certain events that are coming up that make meeting that frequently a little tougher, but they are trying to be as proactive as possible when it comes to meeting either on the staff level or on the member level, and then, I won't list them, but there's a bunch of groups out there that are following not only the Caucus, but also trying to help the Caucus grow, and those groups, on the outside, are meeting weekly to try to discuss on how to further get more members, or what are some things that the Caucus can do, and pinpoint some actual actions. Whether it's meeting formally in the House, or it's folks meeting on the outside, trying to figure out ways that the Caucus can be more productive, people are constantly meeting. They're trying to be as proactive as possible. If you think about it, in the House, I don't know how many caucuses there are, but let's just say there's a Coffee Caucus, right? There's a caucus for everything.
Brian: There's a Coffee Caucus?
Quinn: Brian is an unofficial member.
Brian: I'm in.
Andres: I'll try to send you some details. There's a Tennis Caucus, and a Coffee Caucus, a caucus on whatever you can think of. Some of these caucuses are meant to be very proactive, and the whole point is to get members together to educate and discuss, and when votes come, to actually have a little bit more knowledge, and be able to hopefully vote together on specific issues. Some caucuses are just designed just to have your name signed onto them. "I'm part of the whatever caucus." They're not meant to meet, or be that proactive, but this caucus, the Climate Solution Caucus, was designed and the point of it is to actually, not just to educate, but to be proactive and to get members who are interested, and to get members who range everywhere from very educated on environmental issues, to not very educated, and the point of bringing in folks who are interested, but maybe aren't as educated, is to give them the opportunity to listen to what experts are saying, to talk to their colleagues, and to get up to speed on what's going on. I think that whatever level of degree the folks are joining are at, I think it's a great stride they're actually being proactive, and at least saying, "Hey, I'm willing to listen. I'm willing to jump on a caucus and try to get some education on this issue."
Brian: In your experience so far, can you tell, like, what's been the most effective way to get representatives involved in the Caucus, or can citizens do anything to get their own reps in?
Andres: From what I've seen, it's 100% constituents. They have an enormous and huge voice that has been the sole reason to get members on this caucus. In two weeks, when 1,100, 1,200 Citizens' Climate Lobby volunteers come, one of their first asks, for offices that are not on the Caucus is, "Will you joint the Caucus, and how do we get you there if you are not?" If they are on the Caucus, their first words will probably be, "Thank you."
Quinn: What have you seen is the most effective way for citizens, besides mass yelling at them? What are the most constructive and effective ways to get these people over the hump so that they do join the Caucus and get involved, and at the very least, get educated?
Andres: I'll give you four. I would say a lobby meeting, published media, so letters to the editor, having folks go on their local radio if they can, or TV, or any way they can, any kind of media form is fantastic. Letters to Congress, which is what we started off talking about. Those are extremely effective. For anyone who doesn't know, there is a staff meeting once a week in congressional offices, and they are compiled and counted by issue every week. I always say, it's better to have less calls in a given week, but to be more steady. By that, I mean, if 200 people call on a Thursday and then never call back again, that's not that helpful. If you divide those calls up between those 200 people, and you span it out, you're going to be much, much more effective, because the office is going to say, "Oh, this wasn't just a quick blip. This is actually something that's going on, and is constant, and keeps coming up, so maybe we should look into it."
Quinn: Right. "We've had 40 calls in six out of seven days for the past month and a half."
Brian: Yeah, that seems much more impactful.
Quinn: "Our people are angry."
Andres: Being a former staffer, and working on this issue with constituents and letter-writing, and receiving letters, having a slower paced but longer paced call in system is much more effective than just dashing and calling an office and never hearing back from the constituents again.
Quinn: Okay. That's super helpful.
Andres: The last part I was going to say is outreach events. By outreach, I mean, it's when the constituents get together and they have an event, whether it's in someone's house, in a parish. It's holding events where more folks can come, can talk about the issue, and then can go together and formulate plans to either go to a town hall, or do a letter-writing campaign, or a call campaign. It's being organized. It's getting together and getting organized.
Quinn: Awesome. Okay, so we just had a couple other things we want to just back up on again, so people understand.
Brian: Yeah, you mentioned a bill. What's the bill you've been working on for the past few years?
Andres: Citizens' Climate Lobby, which turned 10 last year, has been working on a Carbon Fee and Dividend bill.
Quinn: Talk us through that.
Andres: Sure. I will talk you through it as much as I can. Obviously, the bill is not out yet, so there are certain parts of it that I can't really go into.
Quinn: No, no, no, of course. We've had a number of folks on, from conservatives to very left-leaning folks that have, again, talking about the differences, and the pros and cons for regulations versus a straight carbon tax, and what happened in Washington State, and where does the money go when you tax it, so we're just really trying to help folks understand all the complexities of why something like this hasn't passed, and what kind of difference it can make. We would love to hear your guys' side of it.
Andres: Absolutely. With Citizens' Climate Lobby, the Carbon Fee and Dividend bill, which at some point will be introduced and will be out there, it's our way to try to help reduce carbon emissions in the environment. Our goal is to not grow the government, it's to give back what the fee comes back to, give it back to society so it can go back out and be spent. We believe that folks all over the country should be receiving part of this fee, this stimulus. It goes through the Treasury Department, and that's something that they've been pushing for. There have been, this year, three carbon bills that have come up, two in the Senate and one in the House. Maybe there's been two in the House, but either way, what's been going on, step one of why this hasn't passed, is because there hasn't been a carbon bill, at least in this Congress, that's bipartisan. Everyone's been working on having it introduced with or without a Republican, and when you do that, it makes passage much harder, especially when you have a Republican administration.
Quinn: But even going back to Washington State, which had the Democrats control every part of the government, and their carbon tax bill still failed. Again, the complexities, a lot of it seems to come down to where does the money go, and how is it distributed once it's brought in as revenue? That seems to be a real sticking point no matter if there's Republicans involved or not.
Andres: That's 100% true. Everyone has different ideas on whether it should go back to infrastructure, if it should go to special bloc programs throughout the community. Our version gives it back in a stimulus way, back to individuals. There's all sorts of different types of ways to give this fee back. I think the one thing that folks are agreeing more about from last year, or the previous years, is that there is definitely a need to have a carbon fee in place. Now, where that actually goes, I think as you mentioned, that's definitely up for debate.
Brian: Is that what's going to make this happen, eventually, is when there's some sort of agreement on that?
Andres: I don't know if there'll ever be an actual full agreement on where that goes, but I think that step one is introduction, and I mean a bipartisan introduction, at least on the federal level, which is what I've been working on it. I think that you need a bipartisan introduction, and then, as it goes through committee, I think that a lot of those more detailed parts of the bill will hopefully get hashed out during that.
Quinn: Do you feel like this thing gets hashed out behind closed doors, but without being brought to the floor, and then we're waiting on November 6th for anything to actually happen with it?
Andres: Unfortunately, I think it's going to take much longer than that. I think that any carbon bill that comes out, I think we're at least a few years away from seeing any kind of full passage on that. I think that at this point, you need to start at least with getting some members on both parties interested in working together. Step two is trying to pass it through committee, then put it on the floor, and then you're also looking at the Senate, which is going to be a much harder place to push this through. They've had their own battles with Cap and Trade, and things in the past, that obviously haven't panned out the way they thought it would, so I think that there's going to be a lot of skeptical folks out there.
Andres: It's going to take a lot of work, I think, on the Senate, to find Republicans, and I don't mean one, I mean more than one, who are out there and are willing to bring a big group with them to work on this issue. When you asked, what is it that I'm doing on a day to day basis, that's part of it. I'm going to meet with the Senate, both Democrats and Republicans, and having these conversations of, "Hey, this is our proposal." At some point we're going to have a bill ready to go, but we need more than one Republican and one Democrat to get this moving. We need a group, and it's trying to convince, I think, folks who are a little hesitant, that it's okay to jump on something like this and be more out there, and that it needs to happen, because if your boss isn't willing to step up and join other Republicans or Democrats, we're just going to be at a standstill, and things need to move on this issue.
Quinn: Do you feel like one of the states, even if it's a lefty state like Washington, successfully passing and implementing these would help, in that it would at least be a testing ground for this?
Andres: I absolutely do. When it comes to the state level stuff, bills, I think that one of the greatest things about the state is that it tends to be able to move faster, and if you can get some good wins in one, two, three states, and use them to throw out some more messaging to the Federal Government, to the members to say, "Hey, look what we did in the states. It's working. Things are going well. People aren't going nuts, and aren't burning cars down. It's okay." I think if we can use the positive messages from the state to amplify it, and be vocal at the federal level, I think that's fantastic.
Quinn: Sure, sure.
Andres: I think we've seen other issues that have worked on doing that as well, and it's worked out for them, so I think that if we can get some wins in the state, while the state moves quicker, and the federal stuff moves slower, I think it's great to do both at the same time, so you keep pushing on the federal level while you're adding up wins on the state.
Brian: It's like weed. A lot of great states are doing a lot of stuff with the money they've done since making weed legal on a state level. It seems like it's a good sign.
Quinn: Sure, and I have a feeling the news sports gambling stuff is going to be very similar to that. Not a lot of people like taxes. Everybody likes tax revenue. Civil rights, not as much tax revenue, but the same thing, you build a momentum. It's frustrating, and boy, I'd like to get Governor Inslee on here to talk about what has happened in Washington, and plan going forward, to see it not come through in a state like that, to see people back off in the last minute. You hate to say, like, "If not there, then where is it going to happen?" But at the same time, like, oh, man, we've got to get this through in states like that. It's crazy. Democrats control so few-
Andres: Those should be those easy state wins that you look at and you say, when you're doing some targeting of, "Hey, where should we go first to get some good wins that we can later shout out to the federal level," yeah, Washington should definitely be on that list.
Quinn: It's funny, I've had some offline conversations with some of these conservative climate activists, and also just principled conservatives, of which there are a few left, but the ones that are are just delightful. I love to have conversations with these people. To be fair, one of their questions is, "It's strange that we have made a point of trying to have these wins happen in these heavily Democratic states where we're actually not producing a ton of emissions," as opposed to where a lot of the emissions are happening are in the red states. We have to take the easy wins where we can get them. Even if it's a small amount of revenue coming, you can do the math and extricate that out, and see how that would theoretically apply to the red states, while things like wind are growing so much in the red states and the middle of the country.
Quinn: None of these businesses want to pay these taxes, so at some point, there needs to be a tipping point where it becomes an advantage, and a business incentive, to go clean, and I think a lot of companies are embracing that. That's the interesting argument I've had back and forth a few times, is, "Yeah, you're right. It is interesting that so many of these Democratic-leaning states are the ones that aren't pumping out a ton of emissions," but at the same time, we don't control that many states, at least right now, and it's going to be a little while, at least until after 2020 redistricting, I mean, fucking hopefully, that that can change.
Andres: Yeah, and I think it's going back to the start of it all, which is who's got the biggest voice, and who can control those kind of things? It's your listeners. It's constituents. It's folks out there who need to organize, and things aren't going the way that they want them to, make a change.
Quinn: Right. Right.
Brian: To play devil's advocate here, how do you, as a lobbyist in a post-Citizens United world, feel about money in politics?
Quinn: With just how much of an impact that's had in the past few years?
Andres: How much businesses have put money into elections? Is that what you're saying?
Quinn: Yeah, basically.
Andres: It's not great to see. It really changes the whole dynamic and conversation, because it turns into who can put the most ads out, who has more money to spend near Election Day, and who's going to get the most visibility because of it. Sometimes, the better candidate doesn't go forward because of that.
Quinn: What do you feel is the most objective but efficient way to dial that back, if you were Justice Kennedy on the Supreme Court, and had the swing vote on basically everything? How would you best frame that, again, as a lobbyist, but at the same time, as someone who wants to see the most constructive Congress possible?
Andres: There needs to be some kind of limit. There just needs to be an even playing field. When you come in with candidates who are just putting in X amount of their own money, or have friends who have a huge bank that someone else who's a great candidate, but they just don't have those connections or fundraising skills, it's not even a competition, then, and again, a lot of times, the best candidate doesn't win, and you're left to do that all over again when the same candidate can do that again, and no one can compete or match how much money he's putting into the campaign, so it definitely needs to be something that's putting everyone at a fair playing field.
Brian: Sure. Wouldn't that be nice? All right. Let's pivot a bit here. Talk to us about your work with Green Latinos. How does it overlap with CCL, if it does at all?
Andres: It doesn't overlap. The person who runs and who created, the founder of Green Latinos, his name is Mark Magaña. He is fantastic. He has been able to bring over, I think, 300 organizations from all around the country together. He does one annual summit, but he does, I think, at least weekly to biweekly phone calls, and he's put subcommittees together on all sorts of different issues, environmental issues, all sorts of different things. He's bringing folks from everywhere from small shops to big shops, to folks like us, Citizens' Climate Lobby, and we're all joining together, giving each other information through the Green Latinos. There's a listserv that we're all trying to communicate on, and are trying to say, "Hey, this is going on. Who can help?" Or, "Hey, this is going on. Let's get mobilized." That's the biggest strength. What he's created is something that I had never seen before, and I think is doing just a tremendous amount of good on helping folks get organized and help come together, and have a strong voice together.
Quinn: And it's the time to do it, because in 25 years, the population of this country, the demographics are going to look very different, and that is not the time to start to get mobilized. It's now, to build that foundation. Again, obviously "Latinos" aren't a homogenous group, like any other lazy random grouping, like when people are like, "Blacks vote Democratic." It's like-
Brian: That's not how it works.
Quinn: You said it's 300 plus combined groups. At the same time, what are the groups' priorities, as this mobilization is building? What are their tent pole stakes that they're working on and going to make a point of over the next year, five years, 10 years?
Andres: That changes from year to year, what their specific issues are and what they're going to focus on, but I can tell you right now, given the current system, it's going to be holding people accountable. It's going to be looking at what nominees are coming into the different parts of the administration and holding their feet to the fire, and saying, "Do you believe in climate change? If you don't, you're going to hear it, and if you say yes, then your actions better follow that. You better be doing what you say you're going to be doing, and if you're not going to be doing it, we're going to be holding you accountable." I think a lot of it, especially in this administration, is not letting the president and the administration get away with anything, and making sure that at every possible move, there's someone watching and playing as much defense, and trying to scream as loud as possible, "Hey, this isn't right. This isn't what we need to do to be saving our environment." With this administration, I think it's just, again, holding folks accountable.
Quinn: Sure, and again, there's a certain amount of power there now, but in, shit, even 10 years, the voting power of that group, which, again, is not homogenous, is not all allied one way, is going to be exponentially increased, and any candidate, especially in the areas where those demographics are growing, if they're not aware of that now, you can forget being in office in eight years.
Andres: I think it's 77% of the California agricultural workforce is Hispanic.
Quinn: It's incredible.
Andres: Can you imagine if we continue to do the negative things that we are doing to the environment, which impact agriculture, what that's going to look like? It's not going to be great.
Quinn: No, and there's going to be a lot of even angrier folks that can't support their families, no matter what color or gender or race.
Andres: Yeah. One thing, since the last presidential election is, I've always said it's unintended consequences. One unintended consequence of Trump being voted in is you see this huge wave of volunteers who may have never joined organizations like Citizens' Climate Lobby, but want to be active, all saying, "I need to do something. I didn't do something before, but now I need to."
Quinn: You're talking about white people, basically. Lazy white people.
Brian: There you go.
Andres: With these unintended consequences, I think you'll find that will change, and the fact that folks are getting off the couch, finally, but I think that you'll start seeing leaders from all different diverse groups standing up and saying, "Hey, this is impacting us this way, and that way, and we're not going to take it, and there needs to be a change." I think you're going to start seeing a lot of African-American leaders stand up, and Hispanic leaders stand up, and I think you're going to see more and more of that as time goes on.
Quinn: Yeah, and that's a benefit. Again, we've already, like you said, seen so much of that in the past 15 months from little platforms like Five Calls to Town Hall Project to Run For Something, or 314 Action, all these groups. On the other hand, people are already, it's May 2018, complaining that the Democrats don't have a leader under 75 to be their voice for 2020, and on one hand, it's like, "Yes, the Democrats are atrocious at messaging. Always have been, 100%." On the other hand, it's May 2018. Give it a minute. All these groups are still going. You've got a lot of young folks that have been elected or are running for office. I saw a stat today that said that out of 14 Democratic primaries that have run so far, that have involved a man and a woman, women have won 11 of 14 of them.
Quinn: At some point, a statistic becomes a statistic, and you go, like, "Oh, that's a wave." That's going to come back to kick somebody in the ass in a great way, and again, women don't all vote one way, but they're fired up, just like we've got more medical and scientific people involved, and more Latino people involved, and that stuff should hopefully really start to matter, and start to build up, and we don't need just one leader. I think that was part of the problem with the Obama administration, is we all looked at this amazing figure who did so much good in the world, who has fully admitted to taking his foot off the pedal as far as down-ballot races went, and we've seen the effects of that the past five or six years, and now we have to build back up against incredible gerrymandering. Hopefully, these things do start to have a real effect. Obviously, it all starts November 6th, because if that doesn't go well, then I don't know what to tell you. Pack up shop.
Andres: Absolutely. I think the creation of organizations and networks like the Green Latinos is a really positive step forward, and hopefully that'll spark even other diverse groups to spark their own kind of Green Latinos, and that's only going to be good for everyone.
Quinn: Yeah, for sure.
Brian: Okay, so from your perspective, what's the most impactful thing that citizens can do on a daily basis, not on Election Day, on a daily basis, to make a difference for the climate causes that they believe in?
Quinn: We've already dug into this a little bit. Like you said, you named some important things they can be doing, but there's news every day that are hitting people, or they're not seeing, and that's part of what we try to do, but nobody wants the American South to turn into a toaster oven. It's already starting to feel that way.
Brian: Or the Southwest not completely running out of water.
Quinn: Brian, that's us.
Brian: Yeah, that's us. We're here. We have no water.
Quinn: No one wants New York to follow Miami directly, inevitably, into the fucking overflowing bathtub that is the Atlantic Ocean. Again, it can't just come down to November 6th, as important as that is, and all the elections after, because we all know Democrats love to tune out after they accomplish something. What can we be doing, what can these folks be doing today, and every day? Because like you said, it sounds like sustained effort is really the key, not just one big march.
Andres: That's absolutely right. I think if there's one thing to take away from, from today, it's that sustained effort is key. I think, to answer your all's question, I think staying connected. That means following the news, and following important shows, following podcasts like yours, keeping connected with the community that they're in. It's making sure that everyone's up to date and aware and educated, and if a member leaves, that they all know what's going on, that they're aware that their elected official is doing this, or not doing that. I think it's staying connected to stay educated, to promote change.
Brian: Yeah, that seems like something that's missing.
Quinn: Is there any difference between the local slash state slash federal levels? Any different strategies there folks should be working on?
Andres: Sure. I think when it comes to more local stuff, I think it's easier to show up. It's easier to show up to city council meetings. It's easier to go knock on your district member's door. Making a trip out to DC to do the federal stuff in person's a lot harder, but there's so many different ways that you can let them know that you're still engaged. You can find out who the staffer is, build a relationship. Let them know that you can be a resource and a tool on your specific issue. If the staffer who has sometimes five or six different issues might not see that there's a new report on this and that, well, if you've built a good relationship with that office, you can say, "Hey, Steve. I just saw this recent report. Thought I'd send it your way," and that could be really helpful, and the more you show that you're not that person who's just calling to scream every day, but can actually be used as a tool, and you're there to help, and you can be informative, that you want to have rational conversations, I think that you're going to have better relationships with the staffer, and they could actually come, at some point, to start seeing you as being very helpful, and which they'll give you more information. They'll be more open, and then they'll want to meet with you more, and talk with you more.
Quinn: I think that is a really interesting point, and we've talked about that quite a bit, about, "Hey, look, just go to your weekly city council meeting, and if you're nervous, bring a friend. Just start with going. You don't even have to stand up and talk." I think that's a really interesting point, which is, these are people who live in your community. Build relationships with those staffers. Their kid might go to your kid's school or something, and then instead of being super annoying, there's a way go to about it, letting them know that you're a resource and a tool, because it's annoying when someone tries to do your job for you. It's really helpful when someone helps you do your job, because they can't do everything. That would be a really interesting key, I think, a proving ground going forward for folks, is building those relationships.
Andres: I've seen it work, and in such great ways. Things you want to do is, again, you want to build that trust, and build that relationship so that when you do go to meet with them, or go tell them about something you're working on, it's going to be a lot easier to do that. Don't be the person who's following them around the supermarket, because that's not good.
Quinn: Yeah, no. That's super creepy. Brian does that all the time to people.
Brian: It's a fine line. No. No.
Quinn: We've talked about it. We don't have to do it again on air, Brian, but just stop.
Brian: Baby steps.
Quinn: Just stop. Yeah, baby steps.
Andres: Then again, talking about, yeah, you can get nervous going to your first city council meeting, or your first town hall. Bring a friend, and that goes all the way back to being connected to your community. If you're connected to your community, you know about what events are going on, and it's much easier to reach out to someone and say, "Hey, is anyone interested, or is anyone planning on going to this event? Could I go with you, or do you want to come with me?" I think that the community aspect is huge, and can be a way to help pass, if anyone has any kind of hurdle of fears of talking, or asking questions to the representative. Like you said, you don't always have to, especially the first couple times, you don't have to say anything. You can just sit back and see how the whole process goes, and when you feel comfortable, yeah, ask a question.
Brian: I couldn't agree more.
Quinn: Just by going, you're already participating more than most folks.
Andres: Absolutely, and if you're not participating, you're not doing much.
Brian: Couldn't agree more. All right, so we're getting close to time here. Andres, thank you so very much for your time today. Been fantastic chatting with you, and you're putting together a little list of hustlers for us to talk to, I hear?
Andres: Yes. I think I'm on five or six right now. Actually, it's not funny, but I'm glad you brought up the Green Latinos, because connecting you with Mark Magaña is definitely on the list.
Quinn: We would absolutely love that. Absolutely.
Andres: We were just texting back and forth this morning, so yeah, I would love for you guys to have him on. He's great.
Brian: Thank you for doing that.
Quinn: All right. I feel like we've actually been pretty productive about this today, but let's summarize what our listeners and people who give a shit in general can do to take action, because they're not all progressives, but they want action. They give a shit. Number one is getting your reps on the Caucus, and that means sustained effort of letter-writing campaigns, lobby meetings, published media, letters to Congress. Again, being steady, involving yourself in outreach events so that when they do count these things up, and they do count these things up ... Again, we've seen it happen over and over this year. A staffer will say, "Listen, we've had 45 calls a week for four weeks on this. That is something we need to talk about." So, sustained effort is everything. That would seem to apply on the local level as well, but especially on the local level, show up. We've talked about this before. Go to your first city council meeting. Go to your second city council meeting, and maybe at the second or third one, you got a friend there, stand up and say something that you've practiced in front of the mirror.
Quinn: Ask a question. Questions are always better than statements. There's a great book out there called A More Beautiful Question I encourage everybody to check out, about more action-oriented questions that inspire constructive responses. It's like when your annoying four-year-old just keeps asking, "Why? Why? Why?" It really does make a difference, and it can dial things down to what really matters, and that is really important on the local level. "Why do we still have plastic bags?" "Because that's what our grocery stores have." "Why?" "Because that's what their corporations told them to have." "Why?" "Because it's cheaper." "Why?" Get to the bottom of, "Okay, but can we get rid of those in our town?" And just start with something there. Ask about your water quality and your air quality, and things like that, and you will be already making more change than most folks probably ever have. Awesome. Awesome, awesome.
Brian: A few more questions, Andres, if you don't mind, just that we like to ask everybody.
Quinn: A little lightning round.
Brian: A little lightning round.
Andres: Wow. Okay.
Brian: No, it's fun.
Quinn: We do need to get a bell of some sort.
Brian: Oh yeah, we should get a bell.
Andres: I got like a cow bell.
Quinn: Cow bell's a good move, because you know what? I think Neil, you know, Neil, I think he's got a real bell, and we can't just do what he's doing.
Brian: Yeah, fine.
Quinn: He's great.
Brian: Ah, Neil. Okay, here we go. When was the first time in your life when you realized that you had the power of change or the power to do something meaningful?
Quinn: This really isn't a lightning question.
Brian: Fast, Andres.
Andres: Hurry up. What's going on? I want to say that it was at a very young age. My parents were always very willing to, and interested in teaching me about the political system, and everyone's role in it, and so I think it was going to the voting booth with my dad at a very young age. I think that I was just in awe of all these people standing in line who were all there to try to make a difference in their own way.
Quinn: That's awesome.
Brian: That's a good one.
Quinn: Yeah, I brought my kids to vote, and will do so again this year, and yeah, it just makes it a part of their life.
Andres: Yeah, they'll remember it.
Quinn: I think it does matter.
Quinn: Hey, Andres, who is someone in your life that has positively impacted your work in the past six months?
Andres: Easy. My children. I have two girls, and looking at them every day, and then going to work, it kind of brings it all together, whether I'm working toward June 9th's March for the Oceans, or whether I'm working on trying to work on Carbon Fee and Dividend, or trying to get a bipartisan legislation passed. Looking at them, that's the reason I'm doing what I'm doing.
Brian: Man, that's the best answer.
Quinn: I love it. Brian, you got to get a baby.
Brian: I'm trying to get a baby. Great. How do you consume the news, Andres?
Andres: How do I consume it? In all sorts of ways. Sometimes when I come home, that's the last thing I want to be consuming, more news, but podcasts are fantastic, like yours, and newspapers, and everything you can find that has a credible source, either online. I actually find it interesting, and you might find this weird, but I actually find it interesting to listen, to watch Fox News. I'm always interested in seeing what the other side has to say about specific issues or certain issues. I know what our side's saying. Sometimes I want to go out and just be like ... People are like, "Why are you watching Fox News?" I'm like, "I don't know, I want to see what their messaging is. I want to see what their angle is on certain issues, and I'm not going to learn if I'm watching what we're doing."
Quinn: No, you have to step outside your own wind tunnel, and even if you firmly and vehemently disagree, to at least understand where they're coming from, even if you think it's catastrophically wrong.
Andres: Yeah, and again, I'm not watching this stuff, walking away being like, "Oh, well, that changed my view." I'm more watching it going, "What is their message? Where are they coming from? What are they trying to get their viewers to jump onto?" It's always interesting when you see that.
Brian: Just try not to smash your head against the wall too many times while you're doing it.
Andres: I need one of those stress release balls while you're watching it.
Brian: It might explode in your hand. All right-
Quinn: Last one.
Brian: If you could Amazon Prime one book to Donald Trump, what would that book be?
Andres: Oh boy. That's a really good one. There are so many good books out there. I don't know if you've asked this to other fellow folks calling in, but-
Brian: Oh yeah.
Quinn: We've actually asked it to every guest, and we have an Amazon list that is on our website, and you can go there, and literally click on the books, and it'll send them to Donald Trump.
Andres: Really. That's fantastic.
Quinn: It's called Trump's Book Club. We're pretty excited about it.
Andres: This I wish I would have known about. I would have put some more thought into it.
Quinn: You can always change your answer later.
Andres: Maybe Bloomberg's last book on the environment, which was pretty good. He was talking about the need for change, and the things that they're doing here in the United States and all over the world to try to change the outlook and the way we look at things. I'll have to think about that one a little bit.
Brian: Is that Climate of Hope? The name of the book?
Andres: I'm curious. What's been the most either unusual or best answer you've heard so far?
Quinn: We've got a couple repeats. A few people have recommended The Little Prince, which is just a fantastic recommendation, all the way to the Constitution.
Brian: Yeah, the Constitution's a pretty good one. We've got People's History a couple times.
Andres: Okay, I don't need to get back to you. I've figured it out. The Giving Tree.
Quinn: Oh, hey, look, I'm a bucket of tears all over again. Jesus. That book is just destruction, in the best way.
Quinn: That's a great one. We haven't gotten that one yet.
Brian: We'll include both.
Andres: Yeah, okay. Good. Great.
Quinn: Yeah, for sure. Yeah, look, no one's assuming he's going to read these things. Only a few of them have pictures, but maybe someone there will, and again, you can visit Trump's Book Club just by going to our website, importantnotimportant.com/trumpbookclub. Click on the book, and it'll literally just send it via two-day shipping.
Andres: That's excellent.
Quinn: We do what we can. All right. Last thing, Andres. How would you like to use this podcast to speak truth to power? Anything right now you want to say before we get out of here?
Andres: I just want everyone to know, everyone has an important voice, an important role to play. Standing up and walking over to your district office, or picking up a phone, those have really huge impacts, and everyone can make a difference. I know that folks always say, "Oh, everyone can make a difference," and people are kind of like, "Yeah, whatever," and they shrug their shoulders, but trust me, from someone who has worked on the inside on the Hill, now for nonprofits, everyone can make a difference. Every single phone call, every letter, every time you jump on a podcast or the radio, or anything you can do, you're being effective. The least effective thing is doing nothing.
Brian: I love that.
Quinn: Rock and roll, man.
Brian: Hey, quickly, can our listeners follow you on the social medias anywhere?
Andres: I need to get on that. They can go to our website, our Citizens' Climate Lobby website. I believe if they even want to see a picture of me, I think I'm on the cover there, but yeah, I need to work on figuring that social media out a little bit more when it comes to adding my own page.
Quinn: It's the Dark Place.
Brian: It's the Dark Place.
Quinn: It's the Dark Place, but it's where the people are.
Andres: I'll have to learn from you guys.
Quinn: Oh God.
Brian: Yeah, ask us any questions.
Quinn: Andres, listen, man, we can't thank you enough for your time today, and all your insight. Obviously, you are a little bit the man behind the curtain that people hear about, and they wake up most days hoping someone is fighting for good, and you are actively doing that, and we do really appreciate that, and all that you do.
Andres: Thank you. This was terrific. I really appreciate it. I really loved chatting with you guys, and yeah, it was great.
Brian: The feeling is mutual, brother. Thank you so much for everything.
Quinn: Awesome, man. We will talk to you again soon, Andres.
Andres: All right. Looking forward to meeting you guys in person sometime.
Quinn: Sounds great.
Brian: Stay dry out there.
Andres: Have a great day. Bye.
Quinn: Thanks, bye.
Quinn: Thanks to our incredible guest today, and thanks to all of you for tuning in. We hope this episode has made your commute or awesome workout or dish-washing, or fucking dog-walking late at night that much more pleasant. As a reminder, please subscribe to our free email newsletter at importantnotimportant.com. It is all the news most vital to our survival as a species.
Brian: And you can follow us all over the internet. You can find us on Twitter at importantnotimp ... That's just so weird. Also on Facebook and Instagram at importantnotimportant, Pinterest and Tumblr, the same thing, so check us out, follow us, share us, like us, you know the deal, and please subscribe to our show wherever you listen to things like this, and if you're really fucking awesome, rate us on Apple Podcasts. Keep the lights on, thanks.
Brian: You can find the show notes from today right in your little podcast player and at our website, importantnotimportant.com.
Quinn: Thanks to the very awesome Tim Blane for our jamming music, to all of you for listening, and finally, most importantly, to our moms for making us. Have a great day.
Brian: Thanks, guys.