NCEL Member Spotlight: James Albis
I believe that climate change is the greatest challenge of our time.
Name: James Albis
Title: State Representative
Year first elected to the legislature: 2011
Hometown/district location: East Haven, 99th District
Legislative Leadership Position/Committee Chair/Lead: Co-chair, Environment Committee
- Why are environmental issues important to you?
I believe that climate change is the greatest challenge of our time. I represent a town that lost many homes to Tropical Storm Irene and Superstorm Sandy. Extreme weather events and other effects of climate change will continue and have greater impacts if we do not adequately address climate change mitigation and adaptation.
- What would you consider to be one of your most significant environmental or energy-related achievements in the state legislature to date? What does it do? (Please list the bill number, title, and year passed.)
An Act Concerning Climate Change Adaption and Data Collection, Special Act 13-9 (2013) called for the creation of a “CT Center for Coasts” to conduct research on climate adaptation and advise and consult municipalities on adaptation measures. This center was created in 2014 as the Connecticut Institute for Resilience and Climate Adaptation (CIRCA) a collaboration between the University of Connecticut and Connecticut Department o Energy and Environmental Protection.
- Why is this achievement important for your constituents and state?
It will allow municipalities and neighborhoods that are woefully underprepared for adapting to climate change an outlet for learning about and implementing sound, sustainable solutions.
- How do you enlist unlikely allies and build broad coalitions for your priorities?
I always try to bring in members of both parties into negotiations. Even if there may be an ideological split, when people have skin in the game they feel ownership over the process and its outcome. Ultimately, we are all trying to help people and it is important to stay on that message.
- What advice do you have for your peers also working on environmental issues?
Think about how environmental issues affect people, property, and the economy. Messaging environmental issues from those different perspectives will allow for a broader reach of support on those issues.