Investment banker plows $2 million into new political committee

A major new player has arrived in the state’s political arena and quickly became a force in this year’s election season.

Tom Steyer, a banker, philanthropist and funder of environmental causes, contributed $2 million to the NextGen Climate Action Committee which registered as a political committee this week, according to records of the state Public Disclosure Commission. Its mailing address is in Sacramento, Calif.

This committee immediately jumped into the battle for the state Senate seat between Democratic Sen. Nathan Schlicher of Gig Harbor and Republican Rep. Jan Angel of Port Orchard.

It gave $75,000 to the She’s Changed PAC, a coalition of environmental, union, progressive and Democratic organizations which is campaigning against Angel. And it gave $150,000 to the Washington Conservation Voters PAC, one of the groups contributing to the She’s Changed PAC.

Steyer is a co-founder and member of the Board of Directors of Next Generation, which on its website describes its mission as promoting solutions to “two of the biggest challenges confronting the next generation of Americans: The risk of dangerous climate change, and the threat of diminished prospects for children and families.”

“Next Generation takes lessons learned from California, America’s largest, most populous state, and helps spread innovative ideas that can be enacted through public policy, private enterprise, families, and individual,” according to its site.

In May, Steyer shared a Seattle stage with Gov. Jay Inslee at a fundraiser for Climate Solutions, a group devoted to fighting global warming.

A press release issued following the event included these comments from Steyer:

“What are we on the West Coast going to do about the bigger picture of climate change?” Steyer asked during his keynote address. “I think the solution is pretty straightforward: the West Coast needs to lead. And we will do so by exploiting every opportunity in the proposition process, the electoral process and the legislative process. It’s a big task.”

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