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Sierra Club 'Environmentalist of the Year' award not a typical choice

Lester Graham
Michigan Radio

The Michigan Chapter of the Sierra Club’s ‘Environmentalist of the Year’ did not plant a forest or fight pollution. The environmental group is honoring Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson.

“Sierra Club understands that democracy is essential to environmental protection. Without it, we really can’t have citizen engagement. Without it you can’t have laws. And that starts at the voting booth,” said David Holtz, a member of the group’s executive committee which chooses the ‘Environmentalist of the Year.'

In a press release, the Sierra club stated it is the first time in the 30-year history of the award that it’s recognized the critical importance of protecting democracy because that protects people and the environment.

“Recognizing not just the contributions of Secretary Benson, but the thousands of election officials all across the state who administered the election successfully under unimaginable conditions,” Holtz said.

Michigan election officials faced a pandemic, a record number of mail-in ballots, and a campaign of false allegations about fraudulent votes.

Lester Graham reports for The Environment Report. He has reported on public policy, politics, and issues regarding race and gender inequity. He was previously with The Environment Report at Michigan Public from 1998-2010.