POLITICS

Billionaire Environmentalist Tom Steyer Endorses Hillary Clinton

Clinton will be "fearless in her pursuit of solutions" to climate change, he says.
Tom Steyer is one of the largest individual campaign donors on either side of the political spectrum.
Tom Steyer is one of the largest individual campaign donors on either side of the political spectrum.

Billionaire green activist Tom Steyer is endorsing Hillary Clinton for president of the United States. In a statement released on Wednesday, Steyer called Clinton an “experienced leader” who will move the country “towards becoming 'the clean energy superpower of the 21st century.'”

Just months ago, the former hedge fund manager-turned-environmentalist said he wasn’t ready to support Clinton just yet, and that he was open to backing Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) if he were the eventual nominee. His priority, he said, was electing a "climate champion" as president.

Now that Clinton has secured enough delegates to become the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee, Steyer has committed to backing her. He said the candidate will be “fearless in her pursuit of solutions to the most urgent challenges we face.”

Steyer, who founded the group NextGen Climate in 2013 to focus more political attention on climate change, spent more than $74 million on the 2014 midterm elections, but only three of the seven candidates he backed were successful in their races. Though Steyer has not yet released an exact figure for how much he plans to spend this year, he has said he plans to “spend what it takes” to ensure victory for climate-friendly candidates.

"Our real goal has been not to support any one candidate, but to emphasize and highlight [climate change] so that the candidates can lay out their solutions and so the American people can have a chance to make a decision," Steyer told Reuters in January. At the time, Steyer said Clinton’s climate plan wasn’t “fully fleshed out."

But Steyer did hold a fundraiser for Clinton at his California home in May 2015 -- even before she came out against the Keystone XL pipeline, which environmentalists had been trying to stop for years.

Sanders’ strong stance against Keystone and hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, for natural gas won him the support of many environmentalist groups early in the primary.

In his statement Wednesday, Steyer described Sanders as a “great progressive leader,” but called upon the Democratic Party to “come together” to defeat the presumptive Republican presidential nominee, Donald Trump.

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