While the Republicans threw punches at Democratic presidential nominee Barack Obama at their convention in Saint Paul this evening, the cleantech community of the Bay Area gathered to praise Obama as the best hope to help solve our energy crisis with clean power. The Cleantech For Obama group (CT4O) kicked off what founding co-chair Jeff Anderson said will be a nationwide campaign to both get Barack Obama elected and “create a political brand and voice for the clean tech and green business community.” To achieve the former CT4O plans to raise at least $1 million from the cleantech community for Obama.
To help bring in this sizable sum before the election, CT4O promises big fund raising events. Anderson said venture capitalist and Nobel laureate Al Gore plans to come to the Bay Area for a CT4O gig in September or October, which alone could pull in $500,000 to $1 million. Former California State Comptroller and Managing Partner of the Westly Group Steve Westly was even more optimistic, saying he hopes Michelle Obama, Joe Biden and perhaps even Obama himself will attend CT4O events.
Beyond fund raising, CT4O is working with the Obama campaign on outreach and messaging. The organization is building a national database of 10,000 people employed in green collar jobs, focusing on 18 battleground states where CT4O has just launched efforts. This database will be used to facilitate the campaign’s message and media campaigns.
In a move similar to the Pickens Plan call for house parties, CT4O is planning a national house party day called “The New Energy Economy Made in America.” The plan calls for over 250 house parties, all linked via teleconference, potentially with a live video visit from Obama and/or Gore.
At the launch event in downtown San Francisco on Wednesday evening, the group featured a panel discussion, before a packed auditorium, that extolled Obama’s “integrated vision” on energy and derided McCain’s “few, cherry-picked programs.” The panelists included Google’s Dan Reicher, UC Berkeley energy researcher Dan Kammen and Christensen Global Strategies Founder Aimee Christensen. (The lineup ended up not featuring former Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle, Van Jones or Heather Zichal, Energy and Environmental Policy Staff Adviser for the Obama Campaign, as previously planned.)
The group just launched its efforts, but members know they don’t have much time. “There’s a lot to do. We have 61 days to do it,” Anderson said matter-of-factly in closing remarks.