Voices from Gulf speak out around the nation

From Ann Costello, who traveled with this group of “ordinary Gulf Coast people (business owners, waitresses, fishermen, etc,) who answered an e-mail from Repower America and ended up flying to DC to
talk to senators about the “spill” and clean energy legislation:

Visiting Gulf Coast Residents
Captain Dan Adams, Charter Boat Captain, Dunedin, FL
Aimée Dominique, Clinical Social Worker, Lafayette, LA
Tim Duggan, Landscape Architect, Make it Right Foundation, New Orleans, LA
Ann Costello, Boat Chandler, Pensacola, FL
Bishop Joe Doss; Episcopal Church; New Orleans, LA
Linda Schuch; Owner, Island Fish Market; St. Petersburg, FL
Linda Hawkins; Health Care Professional (ret); Abita Springs, LA
Rick Roberts; Executive Director, Snook Foundation; Sarasota, FL
Captain Daniel C. Kipnis, Charter Boat Captain, Miami Beach, FL
Chris Sehman, Owner, Helen Beck Restaurant, Fort Walton Beach, FL

There mission was to let the country know “what is happening here, and it’s not a lovely BP ad. We hope people will rethink our energy policy and try to diversify to safer, greener, renewable technologies that create jobs and independence from fossil fuels.”


Tuesday morning, participants were driven straight to the Boston Public Library at Copley Square to prepare for the “Gulf Voices” C3 event. Repower field staff and ACP leadership arrived on site to help with the event set-up, while Captain Adams and Aimee Dominique called into their first press interview at 10:15 AM, a pre-taped appearance on “The Jeff Santos Show” on Revolution Boston AM 1510. At 11 AM, the “Gulf Voices” event opened a round table discussion led by Captain Adams and Aimée Dominique and attended by over 20 students and interested public. Panelists spoke first, sharing their stories around one long table, after which attendees asked many questions and examined the visual aides present (i.e. sledge jars, pamphlets, etc.) Senator Kerry’s office sent one of their policy advisors, Meghan Leahy, and Matt Nelson was present to represent the Massachusetts League of Environmental Voters (MLEV).

WBZ 1013 News Radio sent a reporter to interview the Gulf Voices participants, which was followed by another scheduled call-in interview to “The Chris Collin Morning Report” on WHMP 1400,1240 AM/ 96.9 FM at 12 noon. Participants grabbed a quick lunch at the BPL, before traveling to Newton, MA for a studio interview at New England Cable News (NECN). While on the road, both Aimée Dominique and Captain Dan Adams called in to WERS News Radio at Emerson College for a 1 PM interview on their news show. At 2:30 PM, Ann Costello joined the group, and participants did a 30-minute interview on NECN.

Immediately following NECN, the participants traveled to Dorchester, MA to attend an editorial board meeting with Don MacGillis of the Boston Globe. This audience with the Globe was an exceptional opportunity to sit down with a renowned, veteran ed. board member and get their point of view across to a national newspaper outlet. The final message that the Gulf Voices each expressed was that the United States has always led the way with innovation. Captain Dan Adams stressed that we are a country of pioneers and we should be leading the way, implementing federal legislation that instills clean energy policy. Using their stories as hard evidence against oil dependence, the individuals reiterated their strong belief that it is now a necessity to vote for clean energy legislation – if not now, when?

Gulf Voices participants then left the Boston Globe to travel to the Union Oyster House at Faneuil Hall to attend a grasstops dinner with local government officials and business people who are leading the push for a comprehensive climate bill.


The Gulf Coast Voices fly out continued on to Portland, ME for a hugely successful day. The four participants from Fl and LA participated in a press conference, which generated an incredible amount of buzz in the Portland media. Their itinerary also included an editorial board meeting with the Portland Press Herald as well as a lunch with local business leaders, grasstops and elected officials. All in all a really fantastic day in Maine.


The Gulf Voices fly-out to St Louis was very successful. The evening before our St Louis event, Linda Schuch was interviewed on an environmental show on local community radio, KDHX. (Several people at the event the next day said they came out as a result of hearing her interview.) She also did a quick interview on the local morning show on the local Fox affiliate Wednesday morning. Our event at a public library in St Louis was attended by 30 people, and was covered by 2 online papers (St Louis Beacon, and the Globe-Democrat), 2 radio stations (KMOX and KWMU), 1 TV station (KTVI) and 1 blog (showmeprogress.com). The event went really well with great questions from the audience and good stories from the participants. With a bit or rare downtime left in the day, participants were excited to do a side trip to see the Arch.


After St. Louis, the participants travelled to Little Rock, AR. On Thursday morning, the roundtable discussion began at 11:20, but prior to that several media conducted interviews with the participants, AR CEW Comms Director Nao Ueda, and AR CEW State Lead John Hardin. Most press remained for the discussion as well.

John Hardin started the discussion by welcoming people and setting the tone with brief statements that the oil disaster is part of a larger problem with energy consumption and the need for comprehensive legislation. He then introduced the four panelists. Each took a few minutes to tell their stories about how the disaster is directly affecting them, and each tied their stories in with the need for comprehensive legislation. After 30 minutes, Hardin moderated a Q&A session in which some press and some attendees asked questions of the panel. Repower AR field organizers Holly Ballard and Nicole Levey-Hunt then informed the crowd about what they can do next to get involved.

All four networks sent cameras and reporters to the event, as well as the AR Democrat-Gazette, Arkansas New Bureau and KUAR radio. There was wide coverage on the evening news, online and in the papers (links below).

Following the event, Linda Shuch and Bishop Doss were interviewed in-studio at KTHV, the local CBS affiliate.


At a breakfast reception at the local restaurant Louisiana Flair, the Gulf residents shared their personal stories with the local Richmond community. There were 41 people at the reception, including community members, environmental partners, business owners and local elected officials. Local Delegate Joe Morrissey introduced the speakers. Louisiana Flair owner Nate Sams also shared the oils spill impacts on his restaurant and family and friends in Louisiana.

After the public event was a press conference at Louisiana Flair. Media in attendance were the Richmond Times Dispatch (2 reporters & 1 camera), Virginian Pilot, Richmond.com, CBS 6, NBC 12 and WRIR Radio. After the press conference, the participants were interviewed by Richmond NPR Radio WCVE.