(Columbus, OH) – Members of Ohio’s conservative community gathered today at the Ohio Statehouse to announce the launch of the Ohio Conservative Energy Forum, a coalition designed to be a voice for conservative support for a common-sense, all-of-the-above state energy policy. The announcement comes as the Legislature considers updates to Ohio’s clean energy standards.
Mike Hartley, a seasoned conservative grassroots leader in Ohio, serves as OHCEF’s executive director. Hartley said that support for a diverse energy portfolio is hardly a new concept for conservatives. “Historically, conservatives have led our country’s efforts to protect and preserve our natural resources,” he said. “When it comes to the energy debate, the issue has become polarizing, and often dominated by the left. We founded the OHCEF because we believe an all-of-the-above approach to energy policy is key to the future success of our state, our nation, and our world.”
Hartley said that the group’s members respect the traditional energy industries that have made Ohio great, but also feel a responsibility to respond to a changing world with conservative values based in faith, economic realities, and the principles of good government.
The OHCEF is founded on a Statement of Principles that outlines support based in five areas:
- Faith – Conservatives have a mandate from God to be good stewards of the earth, and to protect the health and quality of life for all His children.
- Economy – Diversified energy sources protect consumers, the state, and the country from volatile prices of traditional fuels. Ohio is among the top 10 states in total energy consumption, and the cost of importing traditional fuel is a drain on Ohio’s economy. Alternative energy keeps money and jobs in Ohio, with advanced energy businesses employing more than 25,000 Ohioans and contributing billions of dollars annually to our economy.
- National Security –Traditional fuel costs are set on a world market dominated by nations hostile to our country – America does not control production or consumption, and therefore does not control international pricing. In addition, American military spends billions transporting foreign fuel sources. It is in our nation’s interest to pursue energy security by diversifying energy sources, encouraging new technologies, and moving to domestic, cleaner forms of energy.
- Public Policy – State leaders are writing the next chapter of Ohio’s energy policy right now. Conservatives need to speak up and participate in local, state, and federal energy policy deliberations.
- Politics – Survey research shows all voters – conservatives and liberals, Democrats and Republicans – see clean, efficient energy as our future. There is great support among all voters – particularly younger moderate to conservative voters – for pursuing advanced, clean, and cost-efficient energy solutions. Republicans and conservatives must lead on these issues to be relevant to future generations of voters.
The goal of the OHCEF is to provide a vehicle for individuals, organizations, and businesses to join the conservative conversation about Ohio’s energy future in pursuit of an all-of-the-above energy policy that lowers systemic costs by increasing commitment to developing homegrown clean energy resources and expanding energy efficiency.
Roberta Combs, president of the Christian Coalition was on hand for the event. “The Christian Coalition of America has great concern about the recent trend of policy initiatives that seek to dismantle state renewable energy and energy efficiency standards throughout the country – including the current situation with Ohio’s energy policy and where appears to be headed,” Combs said.
Colonel Tom Moe, U.S. Air Force Retired, sits on the OHCEF’s Leadership Council. He said that from a military perspective, supporting energy diversification only makes sense. “It’s very simple – reliance on foreign oil is a weakness, economically, strategically, and militarily,” Moe said. We rely on other countries – some hostile to the U.S. – to fuel our nation, something that creates enormous military risk and costs. If these channels of transportation were to become unavailable, the world’s economy would crumble. This dependence puts us in a precarious political and economic position.”
OHCEF Leadership Council members Zach Upton, chairman of Ohio Young Republicans, and Christian Pancake, chairman of the Ohio College Republican Federation, noted the importance of clean and renewable energy to future generations of voters.
“If conservatives continue to sit on the sidelines of clean energy, we will lose this issue,” Upton said. “An entire generation of voters will tune out conservative elected leaders when they talk about energy. This is unacceptable to the next generation of Republicans and unacceptable for a strong future for the Republican Party.”
“Young Republicans and conservatives care about energy efficiency and they are starving for leadership from Republican leaders on this issue,” Pancake said. “The future of the Republican party, and conservatives, hinges on issues like these.”
The OHCEF Leadership Council is made up of Mike Hartley, executive director, OHCEF; Tyler Duvelius, Christian Coalition State Energy Director – Ohio; James L. Ervin, Jr., attorney and president, Ohio Black Republicans Association; Mike Gonidakis, president, Ohio Right to Life; Terry McClure, farmer, Paulding County; Colonel Tom Moe U.S. Air Force Retired; Christian Pancake, chairman, Ohio College Republican Federation; Brian Stewart, Pickaway County Commissioner; and Zach Upton, Beavercreek city councilman and chairman, Ohio Young Republicans.
For more information, visit www.ohcef.org.