Fortenberry, Bolz Agree Climate Change Needs to Be Addressed, but Not How

Oct. 12, 2020, 10:30 p.m. ·

Rep. Jeff Fortenberry (left) and State Sen. Kate Bolz (right) met in a debate hosted by NET News.

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Rep. Jeff Fortenberry and State Sen. Kate Bolz agree that climate change is a serious threat, but disagree on the best way to address it.

The candidates for the First Congressional District met in a debate hosted by NET News Monday night.

Incumbent Republican Fortenberry said he’s looked at the climate science himself.

"There is more carbon now than before. Carbon is the issue," Fortenberry said. "So how we move forward to address volatility in weather, environmental issues that are essential to us all, cleaner air, cleaner water. We have to build out our wind and solar, which we’re doing a good job of. And we have to move forward to a more sustainable economy."

Fortenberry also touted the Great American Outdoors Act, which Congress recently passed and President Trump signed into law in August. The measure devotes nearly $3 billion-dollars a year to conservation projects, outdoor recreation, and maintenance of national parks and other public lands. The legislation passed easily with bipartisan support.

Democratic opponent Bolz said the Great American Outdoors Act is positive, but it’s not enough.

"It’s investing in important things," Bolz said. "But it is funded by oil drilling on federal lands. We have to move forward climate change, but we have to do it in a thoughtful, responsible manner."

And Bolz criticized Fortenberry’s position on one of her climate change priorities.

"I think it’s unfortunate that Congressman Fortenberry hasn’t used his voice to stand up for the Trump Administration and demand that we join the Paris Climate Accord," Bolz said.

Rep. Fortenberry voted no on a bill last year that would have blocked President Trump from withdrawing from the Paris Climate Agreement. That measure passed the House mostly along party lines.

The candidates also answered questions on the nation’s COVID-19 response, health care, and the economy. Fortenberry has won the last three elections in the First Congressional District with at least 60% of the votes each time.

Watch the full debate below:

The climate change question begins at 49:10