Published: Sat, February 23, 2019
Science | By Michele Flores

Senator tells youth climate change activists "I know what I'm doing"

Senator tells youth climate change activists

A group of schoolkids and adults tried to boss around Sen.

Dianne Feinstein released a statement Friday night after a video of her interacting with young Green New Deal activists made its way around the internet.

Feinstein, the oldest sitting senator at 85, was primaried from the left in the midterms by a candidate with a robust climate record, and has faced some criticism from Californians for not pursuing a more aggressive environmental agenda.

The proposal could face a vote in the senate as early as next week. Dianne Feinstein and a group of San Francisco Bay Area students squared off over climate change in a sometimes tense exchange captured on video and widely shared on social media.

The children kept pressing her, one young girl telling the senator, "the government is supposed to be for the people, and by the people, and all for the people".

Feinstein then replied: "Well you know better than I do". "I've been doing this for 30 years". "I've been doing this for 30 years". "You come in here and say it has to be my way or the highway".

"I'm 16", the young woman responds. "I just ran. I was elected by nearly a million-vote plurality". "I got elected by an nearly 1 million vote plurality". So maybe, you should listen a little bit.

At the end of the roughly 14-minute exchange, one of the high school students asked how she could apply for an internship in Feinstein's office, and the senator offered her one on the spot.

Feinstein's spokesman Adam Russell declined further comment on Saturday.

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Feinstein, at that point, appears to have lost her patience, and dropped all pretense.

"We are trying to ask you to vote yes on the Green New Deal", one of the children told Feinstein.

"OK, I'll tell you what", Feinstein replied.

The children wrote a letter to Feinstein on a poster board decorated with hard-drawn animals and flowers, asking that she support the Green New Deal.

ACTIVIST: I hear what you're saying, but we're the people who voted you. "But we are going forward, one way or another", the group wrote.

Feinstein is among a group of senators who oppose the climate-focused legislation and who have also accepted money from oil, gas and coal companies during their time in Congress. Feinstein has accepted almost $252,000 from the oil and gas industry over almost three decades.

The 15-minute video of the impromptu Friday meeting captures the students and Feinstein debating the merits of the Green New Deal, an ambitious Democrat plan to shift the USA economy from fossil fuels to renewable sources such as wind and solar power. And I know what I'm doing.

Sunrise Movement is on a 14-stop tour across the country to raise support for the resolution. "California youth demand that our elected officials take the bold action that science and justice require".

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