Sep 17, 2021 - Axios Events

Sen. Padilla: Extreme weather events can change political discourse

Screenshot of Axios' Ben Geman interviewing Sen. Alex Padilla.

Photo: Axios

Sen. Alex Padilla (D-Calif.) said at an Axios event Friday that extreme weather events may create political momentum to respond to climate change.

Driving the news: The deadly ice storm in Texas this winter that caused widespread power outages prompted Padilla to reach out to Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas) to find ways to invest in the electrical grid, the California senator said.

What he's saying: The winter storm "created an opportunity for me to reach out to my colleague from Texas, Senator Cornyn, and on a bipartisan basis suggest that we put federal funding, federal resources at play to partner with utilities for the purpose of investing in the electrical grid, not just from a reliability standpoint, but from the resiliency standpoint," Padilla told Axios' Ben Geman.

  • "For better and for worse sometimes it does take natural disasters like this to maybe change the politics and the discourse a little bit."

Padilla also said California voters had climate on their mind when they voted in this week's recall election.

  • "You turn on the news daily in California right now, especially in the northern half of the state, you're still seeing the impacts of fires and smoke, people that were forced to evacuate, that sort of thing, and so I think science was on the ballot in this recall election," Padilla said.
  • "Science about COVID and the need for vaccines, and science about climate and the urgency with which we need to act, to have defeated the recall with such a significant margin, I think tells us Californians clearly know what's going on."

Watch the full event here.

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