What If You Held a Climate-Change Meet and No OC Congress Members Came?

Incumbents and challengers from all seven U.S. congressional districts representing Orange County have been invited to attend a free climate change policy forum Sunday evening in Irvine.

“This is a golden opportunity to evaluate candidates’ knowledge and hear their ideas on climate,” says Roger Gloss, president of Orange County for Climate Action (OCCA), the nonprofit hosting the free event.

Nine announced Democratic challengers to Reps. Ed Royce (R-Brea), Mimi Walters (R-Irvine), Dana Rohrabacher (R-Costa Mesa) and Darrell Issa (R-Vista) have confirmed they will attend. Four more people will be representing absent Democrat candidates.

No Republicans had accepted an invite as of this post being scheduled.

Each candidate who shows up will be given time to share his or her views, and following the presentation audience members can ask them questions, so the forum also presents a golden opportunity for local voters.

“Orange County voters are well-educated about climate change,” says Kathleen Treseder, an OCCA spokeswoman and professor of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at UC Irvine.

Treseder offered this breakdown of confirmees:

  • District 39, where Royce is the incumbent: Brendan Wiles, who will be representing Andy Thorburn, the only candidate in the race to be part of the forum.
  • District 45, where Walters is the incumbent: Kia Hamadanchy, Dave Min and Ron Varasteh indicated they will attend, as has Alex McDonald, who will be representing Brian Forde, and a yet-to-be-named rep for Katie Porter.
  • District 48, where notorious climate change denier Rohrabacher is the incumbent: Hans Keirstead, Michael Kotick, Laura Oatman, Brandon Reiser and Tony Zarkades say they are in, as does James Thrush, who will be  representing Omar Siddiqui.
  • District 49, where Issa is the incumbent: Doug Applegate, who only lost to Issa by 1,621 votes out of 300,000-plus cast in the closest congressional race in the country last November, is also coming.

The forum is scheduled to run from 6:30-9:30 p.m. in the Irvine Ranch Water District Community Room at 15500 Sand Canyon Ave., Irvine. The water district neither supports nor endorses the event or the candidates.

Admission is free but capacity is limited, so potential attendees are encouraged to RSVP at www.eventbrite.com/e/congressional-candidates-climate-change-forum-tickets.

Matt Coker has been engaging, enraging and entertaining readers of newspapers, magazines and websites for decades. He spent the first 13 years of his career in journalism at daily newspapers before “graduating” to OC Weekly in 1995 as the paper’s first calendar editor. He went on to be managing editor, executive editor and is now senior staff writer.

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