“New Era’s quirky approach to politics is refreshing”5280 Magazine
Because of President Trump, our best chance to fight climate change is on the local level now—where we need to double down.
And here in Colorado, Boulder’s fighting to do just that: pursuing the most powerful tool it has to fight climate change by breaking away from its monopoly energy provider, Xcel Energy, to create a locally-owned electric utility powered by clean energy.
This effort—municipalization—is Boulder’s only real path to 100% renewable energy, and could be a model for climate action for communities across the country!
But this fall, the fight for clean, local power faces a critical test—and we need your help. Boulder voters will decide whether to pass ballot measure 2L, to continue the project’s funding. The climate crisis is only getting worse—we have to stay the course on this huge, precedent-setting fight!
We’ve been fighting for this for years, because municipalization is the type of complex action that the climate crisis requires of us: in addition to changing our light bulbs, we’re changing our electricity provider and we’re taking control of our own energy future—threatening the coal-dominated utility industry in the process.
Boulder voters have long supported this effort because we know we’re running out of time to fight climate change and have to take serious, systems-changing actions.
Here’s the thing: to pass this measure, we’re running a truly grassroots campaign—again—and we need your help.
We’ve already got organizers on the ground talking face-to-face with voters every day, but we need to keep ramping up. Can you donate today to help us educate and mobilize more voters to support this campaign?
This fight, right here, right now, represents a key milestone in Boulder becoming a world-renowned laboratory for innovation in the clean energy sector, and a model for tackling climate change across the country. Help us make history—click here to support our campaign today, or here to sign up to volunteer.
P.S. Remember the viral video we made telling the story of this effort in 2013? Walk down memory lane, and then chip in to support this fight!
Exciting news: Boulder City Council voted 6-3 last night to stay the course on the campaign for local power!
This means we’ll continue with the utility formation process hearings at the Public Utilities Commission. Council members spoke of the weaknesses in Xcel’s offers, and listened to the overwhelming supportive crowds at the rally and the hearing. Forward on local power!
Thank you to everyone who wrote, posted, showed up, and spoke in favor of staying the course on local power.
The work continues: Now, we need your support at the Public Utilities Commission, which is hearing Boulder’s utility formation plans. They need to know we’re watching and care about them protecting Boulder’s right to municipalize!
Can you send a message to the Public Utilities Commission to support the next step?
A short and sweet note is best, thanking them for their work and asking that they please support Boulder’s constitutional right to form a municipal electric utility! Time is of the essence, so please email them today.
It’s up to the Commission to make Boulder’s constitutional right “real” by creating a realistic path for local power. There are 29 municipal utilities already in Colorado—so this isn’t a new concept—but the Commission has to show the way.
As a part of the Boulder community, you are leading the charge on climate action with local power as the model. The rest of the country is watching, ready to follow. Let’s go!
This email was sent to our local power supporters on April 12, 2017.
As you know, Boulder’s been working towards the creation of a locally-owned electric utility powered by clean energy for the last several years. There’s a major update in this fight—another delay from Xcel—and we need your help to keep our energy future from slipping back into Xcel’s hands.
The latest: We’re closer than ever, and a big step is coming up: Boulder’s utility formation plan is set to be heard by the utility oversight commission in Colorado. But at the 11th hour, Xcel Energy has released two business-as-usual deals to halt that process!
Now, City Council will vote on whether to abandon this next big step toward clean, local power, temporarily or otherwise.
Make no mistake: What Xcel has put on the table is a bad deal for Boulder, and is another attempt to delay our progress.
Offer #1 is to sign a 20-year contract with Xcel again, with promises—but no accountability—to help Boulder use more clean energy. Offer #2 is to buy their system out for what would amount to 2-3x the price of what it’s worth. (Um, no thank you?)
Voters have spoken loud and clear on four separate occasions that they support the campaign for local power—we’re so close, we have to stay the course.
The clock is ticking, and City Council needs to hear from you before they vote. Can you email them to say you support staying the course on municipalization?
Click that button to compose a message—that email address will go to all council members. A quick note with your name saying you support staying the course and rejecting Xcel’s offers is perfect.
With President Trump moving to undo major climate change mitigation efforts on the federal level, the stakes have never been higher—and bold, local leadership from our community has never been more important. We can’t put our energy future back in Xcel’s hands.
Molly, Emma, and the rest of the New Era team
P.S. We need a strong showing at the City Council hearing on Monday—can you join us? Click here for more details.
The following email was sent to Boulder City Council on April 11, 2017.
Dear City Council,
My name is Molly Fitzpatrick and I am the Organizing Director with New Era Colorado.
We would again like to express our deep appreciation for your persistent dedication to our community and your diligence on the issue of municipalization. I’m writing to reiterate our position, that continuing the PUC process is critically important for our community.
Our community has worked hard on municipalization for years—through so many elections, council meetings, study sessions, city open houses, and all the hard work that the Energy Future staff has done behind the scenes. Our voters made a bold, forward-thinking choice a long time ago, and they have since affirmed their decision on multiple occasions—what we would argue is the gold standard for a meaningful pursuit like this one. The critical moment—the upcoming PUC hearings—is finally upon us, and it is alarming that we would so hurriedly decide to halt that major step after all of this effort. Especially since, given the workings of the PUC, it is highly unlikely that we could simply hit the pause button on the proceedings and resume them as new post-election if voters rejected the settlement option(s)—which we believe they would. Delays are in Xcel’s interest and Xcel’s interest alone, particularly with the PUC hearings in sight.
On the offers themselves: Xcel’s “best and final” settlement options are weak, and ask the city—and our voters, again who have affirmed their choice on multiple occasions—to resume trusting Xcel to negotiate in good faith in the future, despite our city’s long history of challenging negotiations with them in the past. The franchise agreement, in practice, would be business as usual for Xcel. It’s missing critical accountability mechanisms, and offers little certainty in the pursuit of our community’s climate commitments—and in the process, it puts our energy future right back where it was when we embarked down this path as a community: in Xcel’s hands (particularly because the off-ramp options are quite hollow, in our view). The buyout option is a non-starter in our book and, we would guess, Xcel’s—since they couldn’t be under the illusion that Boulder would pay them so much more than the system is worth.
At every turn, our voters have consistently supported bold action in the face of the climate crisis and they’ve affirmed their support on multiple occasions—we’ve already taken this question to the people and given them a chance to voice support for another direction. And as President Trump is rolling back nearly every bit of progress that we’ve worked for at the national level, it is hard to imagine that our community would choose to cower at this time—and let Xcel lead instead, setting the pace for how we tackle a crisis that threatens life as we know it. The PUC process is literally just weeks away—we must stay the course and pursue the goals that voters have consistently supported.
We strongly urge you to move forward with the PUC process, and avoid any sort of compromise on Boulder’s values for a clean energy future.
New Era Colorado
Boulder’s Campaign for Local Power: The Latest
TL;DR: Boulder’s fight to create a community-owned electric utility powered by renewable energy continues! With President Trump moving to undo major climate change mitigation efforts on the federal level, the stakes have never been higher—and local leadership has never been more important. But just as Boulder’s utility formation plans are set to be heard by the Public Utilities Commission of Colorado, Xcel Energy has released two offers to avoid the hearings and, in the case of one of the offers, get Boulder’s business back. On April 17th, Boulder City Council will hear from the community as to whether we should sign a 20-year agreement with Xcel, accept their costly “buyout” option, or continue on the path to municipalization at the Public Utilities Commission. Read on for more background, why we oppose these settlement options and support continuing down the path of municipalization, and what you can do to help bring local power to Boulder.
What’s the latest?
The Public Utilities Commission (PUC) of Colorado is reviewing Boulder’s municipalization application, with hearings set to begin on April 26th. Just over three weeks before these hearings begin, Xcel has asked Boulder to consider two “settlement” options—instead of continuing to pursue municipalization at the PUC.
What are the options Xcel offered?
1) To stay with Xcel or 2) To buy their system (read: poles, wires).
Option 1: Staying with Xcel | The city would again commit to Xcel, for a period of 20 years, with an off-ramp option. This option contains some renewable energy projects, but there’s again no guarantee from Xcel to help the city meet our climate commitment goals of 100% renewable energy by 2030.
Option 2: Buying the system outright | Xcel is giving Boulder the option of buying their system upfront, rather than go through the process at the Public Utilities Commission and the other standard price-setting processes. They’re asking Boulder to pay far more than the system is worth—it’d amount to 2x-3x its value.
What’s the verdict?
Xcel’s offers are business as usual. Municipalization remains the best tool we have to meet our community’s climate commitments! Boulder’s voters have consistently expressed their support for the creation of a local electric utility and a collective commitment to reducing our contributions to climate change by creating a clean energy future for the city. Though Boulder has a constitutional right to municipalize, Xcel has delayed and obstructed the municipalization process since its inception. Now, they’ve released this offer at the 11th hour, which would put our energy future back in their hands with no guarantees that we would move closer to our climate commitments. “Deja vu,” we think, is the term.
We’re excited to share that New Era is joining organizations from across the country to launch The Alliance for Youth Action—a movement of young people, by young people, for all people.
Local organizing has never been more important, so our network—formerly known as the Bus Federation—is growing to meet the challenge. Bigger, broader, more ambitious—that’s more like it.
The Alliance will seed and support similar youth turnout efforts around the country, drawing on our different expertise and talents, and allowing more locally-focused youth organizing groups to learn from each other and to win even bigger battles. It’ll also focus on changing the national issue debate, with national issue campaigns on voting rights & economic justice (New Era is a part of these campaigns, too!).
As for New Era, we’re still Colorado-focused (and our name is still New Era). For the last eleven years, we’ve helped transform politics and democracy in Colorado—and now, we’re incredibly excited to be a part of this unstoppable movement amplifying local organizing work for young people across the country.
Our first joint effort is Youth Organizing Summit, which New Era is helping to plan, to debrief the 2016 election, build expertise on advocacy and organizing and plan for 2017-18 and beyond.
We’re excited about this next chapter, and hope you are, too!
-The New Era team
Our testimony during the public comment period at Boulder City Council’s meetings on April 4, 2017.
Hello City Council Members, thank you so much for your time today and thank you for all you do to make our community so great.
My name is Molly Fitzpatrick and I am the Organizing Director with New Era Colorado. We’ve been organizing young people in Boulder for eleven years to engage them in our democracy and move our community and our state forward.
I am here today to urge you to continue moving forward with the PUC process.
New Era has been supporting municipalization since at least 2011, because it is our generation that will pay the biggest price for inaction on climate change. We believe municipalization is still Boulder’s best tool to reach our community’s climate and renewable energy goals, while opening the door for locally-driven innovation in our electricity system and maintaining rates and reliability for our whole community.
Our community’s priorities are clear: Boulder’s voters have had many occasions on which to express their support for both municipalization and climate action. This commitment to a clean energy future has never wavered, and is a commitment we must maintain now more than ever.
President Trump is rolling back every bit of progress we’ve made on climate on the national level, which means that bold, local action is quite literally one of the only tools we have left to fight climate change.
Boulder must continue to lead—out of our own obligation to fight this crisis and reduce our community’s’ contributions to it, and because other communities are looking to ours to lead the way. Who will lead, if not us?
Municipalization remains the best tool we have to meet our community’s climate commitments. Xcel’s proposed settlement options are little more than a distraction. Though Boulder has a constitutional right to municipalize, they have delayed and obstructed this process nearly every step of the way. Their franchise settlement option contains little accountability, and takes our clean energy future out of our community’s hands—which flies in the face of the path our city’s voters have affirmed in election after election.
We have come so far, blazing a trail as our city has many times before. Rather than revert to business as usual and stunt our city’s progress towards our commitments, please continue with the PUC process.
Thank you again for your time and consideration. We greatly respect and appreciate every ounce of energy that each one of you has put into this project, and thank you for all you do.
March 31, 2017
Boulder, CO—The city of Boulder today released Xcel Energy’s “best and final offer,” two options for a potential settlement in the municipalization process. The following is a statement from Molly Fitzpatrick, Organizing Director with New Era Colorado:
“Boulder’s voters have consistently expressed their support for the creation of a local electric utility and a collective commitment to reducing our contributions to climate change by creating a clean energy future for the city. Though Boulder has a constitutional right to municipalize, Xcel has delayed and obstructed the municipalization process since its inception. We should be skeptical that Xcel’s “best and final offer” is anything more than business as usual. As we evaluate the options on the table, the most important outcome is that Boulder is able to meet our goal of 100% renewable energy by 2030 and gain more control over our own energy future. Now, more than ever—as President Trump rolls back our nation’s most significant steps towards addressing global climate change—bold solutions are needed on the local level to tackle the climate crisis and our community must continue to lead. Returning to the status quo would be unacceptable for our community, our country, and future generations.”
NOW HIRING: Denver Organizing Manager
New Era Colorado Foundation and New Era Colorado Action Fund are seeking a full-time Denver Organizing Manager to lead the young voter engagement, leadership development, and grassroots issue campaign work in our Denver office. We are looking for a committed and resourceful individual who is passionate about social justice and young people’s ability to create change.
This position is charged with recruiting, training, and engaging young people in our organizing efforts during elections, on college campuses, in the legislature, and at the ballot box. The Denver Organizing Manager will spearhead all of our young voter registration and turnout efforts in Denver, and will play a key role on our field team in crafting and executing our issue campaigns (with a focus on student debt, economic justice, and climate change). This person will manage spring, summer and fall classes of 6-10 leadership development program participants, build relationships throughout the Denver area with partner organizations and campuses, and in 2018 will run a large young voter mobilization program in the metro area, managing a team of organizers and playing a key leadership role in our statewide program. Overall, the Denver Organizing Manager is a core member of our team with significant leadership in driving our work in the city.
This is a crucial moment for today’s young people, who are members of the largest, most diverse, most progressive generation in history. There is power in our generation, and together we need to use it to win progress on the issues impacting us. That’s why our ideal candidate is passionate about mobilizing young people to advance progressive issues, has experience working with diverse and underrepresented communities, is enthusiastic about building political power for young people and translating that power into meaningful victories, and has the enthusiasm to talk to hundreds of young people in a day to register them to vote or get them involved. This position requires a determination to hit goals, resourcefulness, and strong management of multiple projects with significant attention to detail.
You should absolutely (!) throw your hat in the ring if you’re excited by this challenge and ready to work hard.
About New Era
New Era is an innovative nonprofit organization that works to reinvent politics for young people, mobilizing and empowering a new generation to participate in our democracy to make Colorado a better place for everyone. We have three core program areas: civic engagement, advocacy, and leadership development. We register and turn out thousands of young voters every year, work on issues like election access, economic justice, abortion rights and climate change at the state and local level, and train hundreds of young leaders to create change. Since our founding, we’ve registered more than 150,000 young voters, passed policies like online voter registration, and given out probably more than 50,000+ buttons that say “Vote, F*cker” on them (good, right?). And along the way, we got more than a million views on our Campaign for Local Power video, another million on our This Is Why We Vote video (which was featured on Upworthy), we got named “Campaign of the Year” by New Organizing Institute in 2013, and our volunteers and interns taught us how to make Where’s Waldo costumes on the cheap for voter registration. Get to know us: Website | Facebook
Professional Development + New Era’s team
This position offers extensive opportunities for leadership, management experience, program planning, innovation and professional development on an incredibly supportive team. Professional development opportunities include advanced trainings and learn-by-doing skills building in areas including management, field organizing, volunteer management, campaign strategy, and more. Our team is incredibly dedicated to creating social change, and takes the work very seriously—but not ourselves. We’ll never miss an opportunity to get a zoomed-in screenshot of you making a weird face in a group photo. Very few of us were cool in high school. We deeply believe that young people can create and accelerate social change. We really, really want you, yes, you, to apply!
- Lead all aspects of New Era’s voter engagement and leadership development work in Denver, including program planning and execution.
- Collaborate with New Era’s program staff to develop and drive priority issue campaigns forward. Responsible for meeting all relevant goals, objectives and priorities in Denver.
- Recruit, train and manage young people enrolled in our spring, summer and fall leadership development programs, working closely with the Boulder Program Manager and Organizing Director to continue to develop and improve the program.
- Maintain a regular presence at college campuses, community events and festivals.
- Lead all aspects of Denver’s volunteer program (including goal-setting, recruitment, management and plugging volunteers into leadership opportunities).
- Lead the execution of large-scale, volunteer-driven voter registration drives and turnout programs targeting young voters in Denver (including all aspects of voter registration, phone banks, canvasses, voter guide distribution, etc). This includes hiring and managing a team of 3-6 organizers in 2018.
- Lead all grassroots lobbying activities in Denver, and engage interns and volunteers in Colorado’s legislative session through delivering testimony, attending committee hearings, and lobbying.
- Pitch in for “all hands on deck” efforts and other areas of the organization occasionally—including (but not limited to!) the Boulder program, our high school voter registration work, and fundraising efforts.
Here’s a list of knowledge/skills/qualities that our ideal candidate would possess:
- Deep commitment to New Era’s mission and a determination to tackle the issues facing our generation, including economic and racial justice, climate change, election access, and reproductive justice.
- Strategic, creative thinker with strong problem solving skills & analytical ability (You’ve got ideas for how we can better achieve our goals, you regularly troubleshoot your plans and adjust accordingly).
- Self-starter who shows strong initiative in making improvements to our work, sets high standards for individual and team performance, and is committed to constant improvement of yourself and the organization.
- Highly organized (seriously) and able to work efficiently and effectively under tight deadlines.
- Ability to bring a strong lens on equity and inclusion to the work, including demonstrated success working effectively within underrepresented communities.
- Strong communication skills and a passion for and experience with engaging young people face-to-face.
- Ability and willingness to work nontraditional hours, including evenings and weekends as needed.
- Work style that is flexible, respectful and collaborative, and commitment to maintaining a supportive, empowering work culture.
- Experience managing, training, or organizing people preferred but not required (including staff, volunteers, or interns)
- Reliable transportation and a driver’s license strongly preferred.
- Spanish language skills are preferred, but not required.
Please note: we care more about your talent, desire to do the work, and your drive and ability to improve every day than whether you have formal or informal experience. We do not require formal education experience. We encourage you to submit your application if this job excites you!
This is a full-time, permanent position based out of New Era’s Denver office (which is actually a cozy little house), reporting to the Organizing Director. New Era provides a comprehensive benefits package, including medical and dental coverage (with 75% of the premium covered by the employer), an annual RTD Ecopass (free public transit!), paid sick and vacation time, a professional development budget, and lots of pizza during election times. Salary range is $34,000 to $36,000 annualized, commensurate with experience.
New Era Colorado is an equal opportunity employer. We welcome applications from all, and strongly encourage women, people of color, people with disabilities, immigrants, refugees and LGBTQ people to apply.
Please submit a resume and cover letter (as a single PDF) to the attention of Molly Fitzpatrick to DenverManagerJob@NewEraColorado.org. In your cover letter, please describe why you want to do this job in particular at New Era, and how you found out about the position.