National Journal: Working Across Party Lines

December 3, 2015

Read the full article by Ted Hesson here:

Working Across Party Lines

In South Florida, Democratic and Republican county leaders have joined forces on climate change.

That was the moment of realization: Despite their differences in party affiliation, these county officials had a lot in common, and their message would have been stronger if expressed in unison.

The legislation they lobbied for died in the Senate, where a bipartisan coalition collapsed over claims that the bill would kill jobs. In South Florida, however, the efforts at bipartisanship went forward. Six months later, leaders from the counties—three Democrats and one Republican—signed the Southeast Florida Regional Climate Change Compact.

The main objective of the agreement is for the counties to work together to draft climate-related legislation, in both Tallahassee and Washington, and to lobby for funding or policy changes. Along with that, they’ve sought to use their collective strength to reduce greenhouse-gas emissions and to adapt to the changing climate. The four counties, combined, are more populous than 30 of the 50 states, and their joint effort has turned out to be perhaps the most successful example of local bipartisan cooperation on climate change in the country.