Crunch Time for Presidential Candidates in the Great Lakes

Unified. Bipartisan. Consensus. Common priority.

You rarely hear those words around a presidential election season, especially when they involve something urgent, sometimes controversial, and potentially costly. And you certainly wouldn’t expect them this October, right in the midst of polarizing hundred-million dollar negative ad campaigns.

But that theme of pulling together regardless of party is exactly the message being broadcast right now throughout the Great Lakes, and especially in the presidential swing states. And we’re hearing it from very credible and powerful sources: editorial boards for major media outlets.

Editorials Demanding Candidates Commit to Great Lakes

Editorial after editorial are calling for the candidates to put aside their differences and pledge to restore the Great Lakes and protect them from threats like Asian carp. Editorial boards in cities across the region are demanding that both presidential candidates commit to maintaining funding for Great Lakes restoration and taking measures to stop Asian carp.

Take a look at the editorials:

The Obama and Romney campaigns are taking notice.

Obama, of course, sent top campaign surrogate Carol Browner to the Healing Our Waters’ 8th Annual Great Lakes Restoration Conference in Cleveland last month. Then last week, both campaigns sent their positions on the Great Lakes to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, with Romney saying he was “outraged” at the lack of progress on Asian carp, prompting a similarly outraged response from  Obama Chief of Staff Jacob Lew .

The editorials are coming in so fast that it’s hard to keep up. Just yesterday morning the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel ran yet another editorial recognizing that both Obama and Romney are now paying attention and calling on them to build a barrier in the Chicago canals to stop the advance of the Asian carp.

Candidates Trying to One-Up Each Other on the Great Lakes

So it’s a mere three weeks before the 2012 presidential election, and the candidates are trying to one-up each other on the Great Lakes .

The problem is, they’re still not yet making the commitments the lakes need. Yes, the Obama Administration has a very strong record on Great Lakes restoration funding and has made a commitment to continue it. Romney’s campaign made a restoration funding commitment, albeit a little vague.

Neither has committed to building the barrier in the Chicago canals needed to stop the advance of Asian carp toward Lake Michigan.

Well, voters want to hear a commitment on Asian carp and time is growing short.  President Obama and Governor Romney, now that we have your attention, we direct you to the wise counsel of former Ohio Governor Bob Taft, who wrote this week in a guest editorial in the Cincinnati Enquirer,

The Great Lakes are an “every-American issue.” They are not a partisan issue any more than Glacier National Park was a partisan issue. The Great Lakes are not a regional issue any more than the BP oil spill was a regional issue….

So, we’ll offer candidates an easy way into the hearts of Great Lakes voters for President Obama and Governor Romney. Take the Great Lakes Protection and Restoration Candidate Pledge affirming the precious nature of this great asset and committing to do whatever is necessary to protect and restore it, including an effective defense against the Asian carp.

It’s crunch time. Will you take the pledge President Obama and Governor Romney?

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