Between sweltering summer temperatures and wildfire outbreaks across the country, winter lovers have been in a hot sweat. Here at Powder7, we’ve been wondering what’s new with our friends at Protect Our Winters. I checked in with POW’s communications manager Sam Killgore for the summer scoop–and it’s not the heat they’re worried about. It’s the ballots this fall.
What has POW been focusing on through the summer months?
“Our biggest priority is we need people to engage in the elections… We want to make climate policy a top issue in voting. Even among liberal voters, climate change is number seven after gun control and other social issues. For Republicans, that issue drops into the 30s.”
So how does POW plan to make climate policy a top voter issue?
“POW is a 501(c)(3) single issue non-profit. We can tell people to vote, but that’s it. We are about to launch a 501(c)(4), which is also a non-profit, but we are allowed to get involved in elections. We are calling it the Protect Our Winters Action Fund, or POWAF.”
If POW already registers voters, what will POWAF do differently?
“The tricky thing with POW is that we can tell people to vote, but not how to vote. POWAF presents a much more specific message. We can register people to vote and then tell them to download our voter guide.”
POWAF’s ballot guide will cover four critical races in the upcoming election cycle:
- Colorado Gubernatorial Race
- Nevada Gubernatorial Race
- California 4th District Congressional Race
- Montana Senate Race
What is POWAF’s action plan to get voters to the polls?
“People need to feel empowered to vote, educated to vote, and easy to vote. People like to act civically-minded and talk politics over beer—but then they stop short of the polls. A lot of people care about these issues, but the community doesn’t always show up to vote, which is why we need to leverage volunteers to spread the word.”
Meanwhile, POW will continue to register voters and “leverage athletes who can speak on these same issues.”
How will POWAF inspire voters outside those four critical elections?
Voters “need to realize that climate impacts health care and jobs; it impacts everything.” And they mean everything. Using healthcare as an example, “it could be asthma attacks from too many wildfires and pollen outbreaks.”
How can consituents get involved with the Protect Our Winters Action Fund?
“First and foremost we need to just spread the word. Word of mouth is a tactic we can utilize for both POW and POWAF. We want to motivate the entire outdoor community. ”
Sign up for newsletters, follow up on social media, and volunteer “whether its slinging beer at an event or data entry.”
Due to strict rules between 501(c)(3) and 501(c)(4) organizations, POWAF also needs donations. Both organizations may operate out of the same 10-person Boulder office, but they can’t just take money from one organization to fund the other.
It’s an exciting time for Protect Our Winters and the Protect Our Winters Action Fund. “We can get into really critical climate issues and who you should vote for. It will be a chance to see what kind of impact we can have.”
Learn how to get involved with the Protect Our Winters Action Fund here.