Rep. Leonard Lance, one of only 23 Republicans representing a congressional district carried by Hillary Clinton in 2016, made it clear at his feisty town hall meeting in February that he has differences with President Donald Trump.
Lance (R-7th Dist.), the state’s most vulnerable House GOP incumbent, is now putting a little more distance between himself and the president.
Lance added his name to a House Republican resolution calling for solutions to address climate change. Rep. Frank LoBiondo (R-2nd Dist.) was among the 15 GOP lawmakers who introduced the measure in March.
“The economic and national security effects posed by climate change cannot be ignored or denied,” Lance said.
Trump, on the other hand, has called climate change a “Chinese hoax” and has named an Environmental Protection Agency head who does not believe in the overwhelming scientific consensus that human activity is contributing to global warming.
The Auditor noted that Lance hasn’t been a strong supporter of environmental issues since coming to Washington. His lifetime League of Conservation Voters score is 21 percent, second lowest in the state’s delegation. Only Rep. Tom MacArthur (R-3rd Dist.) with 10 percent scored lower.
Lance also joined the bipartisan Climate Solutions Caucus that is looking at ways to address the issue.
“There is a great tradition of conservation within the Republican Party,” Lance said. “Presidents Lincoln, Roosevelt, Eisenhower, Nixon and Reagan all understood that conservation is conservative. Republicans in Congress today should enact policies that embrace this great conservation legacy.”
Earlier this year, Lance, LoBiondo and Rep. Chris Smith (R-4th Dist.) were three of only four House GOP members voting against repealing U.S. Interior Department regulations requiring federal officials to use the best available science, including addressing the impacts of climate change and moving toward clean energy, in allowing development on public lands.
Linda Weber, a bank executive from Berkeley Heights, Lisa Mandelblatt, a teacher in Westfield, and Scott Salmon, a lawyer from Scotch Plains, have announced their candidacies for the Democratic nomination to take on Lance.
In addition, Peter Jacob, who had the endorsement U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) when he ran for the seat last November, is raising money in anticipation of another run.