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March 31, 2008

Portland, OR – Oregon's primary election is still seven weeks away -- and at least one group insists this year, that's a good thing. The Sierra Club has launched a campaign called "Power2Change," because it contends the presidential candidates aren't saying enough about global warming and renewable energy –- and it's up to voters to keep after them.

Jeff Cramer, the Power2Change campaign organizer in Oregon, says the state will be getting a lot of national media attention between now and the primary date of May 20, and it can be a prime opportunity to show the rest of the country that it's possible to "go green," in rural areas as well as cities.

"We're already seeing it in Oregon. There are small communities that are taking leadership roles; that are saying, everything from, 'We're gonna change out light bulbs,' to, 'We're gonna start businesses that will fit into the sustainable business model.' And I think that's where real leadership comes from."

The Power2Change goal is to get people talking -- and asking political candidates tougher questions –- about topics like energy self-sufficiency, global warming, and conservation. Cramer says there's particular urgency about climate change and alternative energy, because they affect so many other, major issues of concern.

"These are security issues. These are economic issues. And these pertain to everything from being able to pay my bills at the end of the day, to feeling safe from foreign threats."

The Power2Change campaign includes petition drives, house parties and business meetings around the state, all focused on what it will take to make Oregon communities energy self-sufficient, as well as letting national and local leaders know that it's important to voters. Similar campaigns are taking place in eight other states.

More information about the campaign is available online, at www.sierraclub.org/power2change/oregon.

Chris Thomas, Public News Service - OR