Legislator Highlight: Rep. Thomas Massie
This past weekend, I was honored to represent the American Conservation Coalition at the Young Americans for Liberty Summit in Charlotte, North Carolina. I heard from numerous speakers and conversed with countless individuals who all act as fierce advocates for conservative values and personal freedom. Representative Thomas Massie is perhaps the strongest advocate of them all. By promoting principles of limited government and free market environmentalism in his speech, Congressman Massie provided the perfect climactic ending to this excellent summit.
Rep. Massie, an adept engineer and graduate of MIT, has represented Kentucky’s 4th Congressional District since 2012. One of Massie’s most interesting stories involves the home he designed and built in rural Kentucky. His off-the-grid house, which sits on a grass-fed cattle farm, is powered by solar and geothermal energy sources. Rep. Massie’s self-sufficient home illustrates that his commitment to conservation ventures far beyond his words and translates into impactful actions.
In his speech, Rep. Massie described himself as a “crunchy conservative,” meaning that he is conscious of and committed to protecting the environment. In today’s political climate, too many conservatives are afraid to embrace this mentality given the left’s alarmist rhetoric and monopolization of environmental issues. Rep. Massie, a defiant and principled individual, does not allow this leftist fear mongering to deter him, however. Following his speech and its enthusiastic standing ovation, ACC Director of Strategy Matthew Mailloux was selected to ask the congressman a question, which posed: “Rep. Massie, as a fellow ‘crunchy conservative’ how can we promote more innovation to protect our environment through measures such as carbon capture and energy storage?” (Time allowed for only two questions, so we felt quite lucky to be chosen!)
Rep. Massie’s response was nothing short of incredible. He quickly indicated his strong opposition to tariffs on solar panels and to subsidies of any kind in the energy sector. These comments echo a statement on his website, where Rep. Massie claims that he “will support all domestic sources of energy as long as they can compete in the free market without subsidies.” Rep. Massie’s beliefs align closely with the ACC’s all of the above energy approach. Rather than the government picking winners and losers through tariffs and subsidies, we should encourage innovation and allow free market forces to direct the transition to clean energy reliance and American energy independence. Rep. Massie also pointed out that “the best conservationists are family farmers.” Farmers and private property owners possess economic motivations to conserve their lands, so we should incentivize active stewardship as opposed to enforcing stringent mandates that limit use. These landowners will respond to incentives given that protecting the lands is in their best interest. Like the ACC, Rep. Massie understands that environmental concerns are addressed most effectively through a limited government and free market approach.
From his self-sufficient home to his policy stances, Rep. Thomas Massie exemplifies the characteristics of a true conservationist. To launch a new era of free market environmentalism, we need more “crunchy conservatives” like Rep. Massie in Congress. The ACC is committed to changing the narrative in environmental discussions, and that starts by promoting the ideas of prominent individuals like Rep. Massie.
P.S. As always, save the bees!