Chair Grijalva Welcomes Rep. Jesús “Chuy” Garcia to Committee, Looks Forward to Collaborating on Environmental Justice, Other Pressing Issues

Washington, D.C. – Chair Raúl M. Grijalva (D-Ariz.) today welcomed Rep. Jesús “Chuy” Garcia (D-Ill.) to the Natural Resources Committee, saying his decades of work on environmental justice will be a special asset to the entire Committee. Garcia joined the Committee after the departure of Rep. Jeff Van Drew (R-N.J.), who left the Democratic Party.

Environmental justice has been a point of emphasis for the Committee throughout Grijalva’s chairmanship. Among other initiatives, Grijalva is preparing to unveil the final version of his comprehensive environmental justice bill with Rep. A. Donald McEachin (D-Va.), and the Committee has emphasized federal consultation with historically overlooked communities in major policy decisions since the beginning of the 116th Congress.

Last year, the House unanimously approved Garcia’s bill requiring carbon monoxide detectors in federally assisted homes that have potential carbon monoxide sources. Grijalva praised Garcia’s consistent advocacy for low-income and underserved communities as a needed perspective on federal conservation issues.

In addition to being a Cook County Commissioner before coming to Congress, Garcia was a Deputy Water Commissioner in Chicago and helped lead the fight to address lead poisoning in public water systems. Grijalva said his focus on the overlap between environmental quality, public health and systemic inequities in service quality will be invaluable in the coming year.

“The Democratic Caucus approved Rep. Garcia joining our Committee because he knows that protecting environmental quality is really about protecting the quality of human lives,” Grijalva said. “He represents a large population of color with major environmental justice needs that Congress needs to address. Democrats like him are the future of American conservation, and I can’t wait to start working with him more closely.”

“As a member of the Natural Resources Committee and life-long advocate for environmental justice and conservation, I will urgently work to address the climate crisis, keep our air and water clean, and provide responsible, sustainable stewardship of our environment and public lands,” Rep. Garcia said. “My constituents in the Chicagoland area are already suffering from the devastating health and economic impacts of climate change. With the Committee’s jurisdiction over Puerto Rico, I will be able to more directly advocate for the thousands of families I represent with roots in Puerto Rico. I thank Speaker Pelosi and my colleagues for allowing me to join the committee and I look forward to working with Chairman Grijalva.”

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