VoteVets Runs Ad Urging Congressman Charlie Gonzalez to Support Clean Energy

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A couple of weeks ago, Sarah from Public Citizen blogged about how San Antonio Democratic Congressman Charlie Gonzalez wanted to give away pollution credits for free. As Sarah wrote:

Charlie Gonzalez just doesn't have his facts straight on this one.  If you're really concerned about consumers, giving away pollution credits for free is about the worst way you can write this bill.  Giving away allowances would force customers to pay for industry and utilities' right to pollute without even cutting carbon emissions.  There is a right and a very wrong way to write a good climate change bill, and Charlie is supporting the wrong way.

EPA's most recent analysis say that giving away pollution credits is “highly regressive”, meaning it hurts low-income families the most.  At best, this is a bailout and a free ride for the polluters.  At worst it will create windfall profits for huge energy companies at the expense of every lower and middle income family in Texas.

Others have taken notice. have produced a television ad urging Congressman Charlie Gonzalez to support clean energy initiatives. According to their release, the ad will run in the San Antonio cable market over 600 times. (A similar ad is running in Congressman Gen Green's district). Take a look at this excellent ad: 

The speaker is Patrick Bellon, an Iraq War Veteran from Texas. In the press release announcing the ad, Bellon remarked:

“Getting America less dependent on foreign oil and towards clean energy is a national security matter,” said Bellon, who also is a member of  “Congressman Gonzalez has a chance to vote for a comprehensive clean energy jobs bill that would lessen those Middle East oil profits that help fund terrorism, and would create jobs right here.  As someone who’s fought against insurgents in Iraq, this bill is a no brainer, and we’re hoping the Congressman feels the same way.”

The full script is below the fold.


Iraq War veteran Patrick Bellon speaks to camera.  An image of an M-4 gun appears

Bellon:  This kept me safe in Iraq

The gun disappears and is replaced by a gas hose nozzle

Bellon:  But this makes us vulnerable here at home. 

The nozzle disappears.

Bellon:  Billions in Middle East oil profits have helped fund the same terrorists we’re fighting.  By building an American clean energy economy, we can lower energy costs, create thousands of jobs, cut our dependence on foreign oil, and keep America safe. You can help protect America. 

Congressman Gonzalez’s DC office number appears

Bellon:  Call Congressman Gonzalez, and tell him to support the American Clean Energy and Security Act.  Because, our national security starts at home.


About Author

Phillip Martin

Currently the Research and Policy Director for Progress Texas and the Texas Research Institute, Phillip Martin writes occasional long-form pieces for BOR that promote focused analysis and insight into Texas politics. Born and raised in Austin, Phillip started working in politics in 2003 and started writing on BOR in the summer of 2005. Phillip has worked for the Texas Democratic Trust, the Texas Legislative Study Group, and now the Progress Texas family. He is a lifelong Houston Astros fan, a loyal Longhorn, and loves swimming at Barton Springs Pool.


  1. say what??
    i find it hard to believe that charlie supports terrorists, dependence on foreign oil and not keeping america safe.

    in fact, i know first hand that he does not support those things.

    and wtf does “votevets” have to say about carbon credits???? shouldn't we be worried about the VETS that can't get the ptsd care they need? maybe the suicide rate among vets is an issue we should care about?

    maybe you spend your time and money beating up on a repub in a swing district instead of pissing it away trying to embarass one of the most dedicated texas dems.

    the only thing more certain than the sun rising tomorrow is charlie getting re-elected. such a distraction and a waste to attack him with a third party group that has virtually no affiliation to the issue at hand.

    i'm wondering if votevets discloses where their financing for this attack comes from. now that would be interesting.

    • You miss the point
      This is to encourage Gonzalez and others (there's a series of ads around the country) to support the Democratic agenda. Maybe you think Vets shouldn't comment on the fact that a significant portion of the defense budget is protecting oil. Maybe you think they shouldn't point out that the more we shift to renewable energy, the less funding the terrorists get – that whole supply and demand thing from econ 101. They should only speak about issues of care after the fact, rather than being pro-active about trying to prevent the wars that cause ptsd and suicide among their brothers and sisters. I disagree.

      Gonzales and a few more Dems will likely be relected as long as they care to, but it would be nice if they got with the program so VoteVets could spend their money beating up swing district Republicans rather than having to pressure Democrats to vote with their party.

      • refer
        to the community guidelines or KT's bumper.

        my post was not unproductive.

        again, i'm not talking about a veteran voicing their opinion. i'm criticizing the tone and implications made by a PAC.

        you think this vet wrote that script and developed the concept? come on, george.

        votevets is using an american hero to attack a respected member of OUR party with totally irresponsible insinuations about gonzalez' value system.

        i do see that we agree that the PAC's money is better spent in swing districts against the other party.

        in congress a vote is a vote. if pelosi wants this vote, she'll get it. if votevets bothers to attack a swing-district repub and they change their vote…the vote counts the same value. furthermore, whether they change their position or not, it helps begin making the case for 10.

    • Geez, Colin
      1) VoteVets is a legit group — they've been around a while. I worked with then in NH. They aren't some random group out to smear anyone.

      2) Congressman Gonzales has a fairly influential voice on this issue, given his place on the Committee.

      I think if a veteran fought in Iraq and wants to come home and talk about why new energy ideas are essential to our continued national security (something President Obama has said quite a bit, if you'll remember), then he has every right.

      Congressman Gonzalez is so safe that he may only listen, as he said himself, to the “economic interests” in his district…unless others speak up. Giving away pollution credits is solely a move to help polluters. It is bad economics for the region, the state, and the country — it only helps those businesses.

      No cap and trade plan is going to entirely destroy businesses, but companies still have to grow and get better about what kind of energy they use and how much responsibility corporations should take.

      • geez, phillip
        this is a smear that makes some very inaccurate insinuations about charlie's position on some major issues.

        i never disputed a veteran's right to speak about whatever they wish, i simply dispute that this is a wise move and i question where the money came from for this call to action.

        i don't disagree about the pollution credits.

        the message makes some impressions about charlie's record that are crazy-inaccurate. and even if this ad changes his mind(and i don't think the ad will change anyone's mind), the ad, imho, plays dirty against a very popular and very team-oriented dem…and that is my problem with it.

        if they want to make the case that charlie is on the wrong side of a big issue…okay, make it. but i think it is grossly inappropriate to make implications that charlie's position means he loves terrorists and wants to make our country less safe. it is bush-like rhetoric and is better utilized by the other side.

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