VP Harris stops in the Bay Area, discusses climate action in final midterm push

Vice President Kamala Harris completed a swing through California with a stop in her hometown Bay Area. VP Harris spoke at San Francisco’s Cowell Theater, as part of a discussion on climate change on the podcast, A Matter of Degrees. Harris told the audience, the battle against climate change is a good opportunity for coalition building. "Bringing together all the folks who fought for voting rights, who fought for marriage equality, who are fighting for reproductive and fighting for smart climate policy, let’s bring everyone into the room." 

The vice president’s visit comes with just three weeks until Election Day. She’s also in the Bay Area raising money for Democrats. She spent Monday in Los Angeles talking about reproductive rights and headlining another fundraiser. "It’s all about the fundraising; California is where the money is," said James Taylor, political science professor at the University of San Francisco. "In Northern California, Silicon Valley, Hollywood in Southern California, it’s money." 

Last week, President Biden also held events in Southern California and raised money for his party. Vice President Harris is the latest high-profile Democrat to stop in the Bay Area: First Lady Jill Biden was in San Francisco earlier this month, Hillary Clinton last week, and Secretary of State Antony Blinken was joined by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi in the South Bay Monday. "Bay Area Democrats dominate the national party from Nancy Pelosi and Kamala Harris to Gavin Newsom’s influence," said Taylor. "They’re coming to shore up democrats in the country, they want to support the Biden agenda." 

On Tuesday, the administration announced the first offshore wind lease sale off the coast of Central and Northern California. During the discussion, VP Harris touted the administration’s efforts to fight climate change including the $370 billion included in the Inflation Reduction Act. "So much about this movement is the intersection of the economy, between what we must do that’s about public health," said Harris. "Those dangers of public health affect our must vulnerable." 

As Harris and Democrats try to drive their base to the polls in hopes of maintaining control of Congress, the pendulum appears to be swinging back towards Republicans. The latest New York Times/Siena College poll shows 49% of likely voters say they plan to vote for a Republican to represent them in Congress, 45% for a Democrat. The economy and inflation remain the top issues for voters. 

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In a statement, a spokesperson for the Republican National Committee said: "Kamala Harris is back in San Francisco, but she isn’t talking about gas prices, record inflation or the homelessness crisis in California because she can’t be bothered to talk about issues that voters are actually struggling with."

Harris spoke broadly about climate action to end her remarks, "We are in a very specific moment in time and this window is going to shut on us if we don’t act with a sense of urgency."