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California Billionaire Plans To Help Wash. State Democrats

J. Scott Applewhite
AP Photo
FILE - In this Sept. 5, 2012 file photo, Tom Steyer, co-founder of Advance Energy Economy, waves as he walks to the podium to address the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, N.C.

California billionaire and climate activist Tom Steyer plans to try to help Democrats win back the Washington state Senate.

Steyer and his NextGen Political Action Committee plan to target three to four state legislative races, likely Washington state Senate races. They will work in coordination with state environmentalists who have their own political action committees.

Their goal, they said, is to secure a “pro-climate majority” in the Washington Senate that could then help pass Gov. Jay Inslee’s climate agenda, which includes a possible cap-and-trade system.

NextGen recently registered a new political action committee in Washington. Last year, Steyer pumped more than $500,000 into the state. A good chunk of that money went to an unsuccessful effort to defeat a Republican state Senate candidate in a special election.

Since January 2004, Austin Jenkins has been the Olympia-based political reporter for the Northwest News Network. In that position, Austin covers Northwest politics and public policy as well as the Washington State legislature. You can also see Austin on television as host of TVW's (the C–SPAN of Washington State) Emmy-nominated public affairs program "Inside Olympia." Prior to joining the Northwest News Network, Austin worked as a television reporter in Seattle, Portland and Boise. Austin is a graduate of Garfield High School in Seattle and Connecticut College in New London, Connecticut. Austin’s reporting has been recognized with awards from the Association of Capitol Reporters and Editors, Public Radio News Directors Incorporated and the Society of Professional Journalists.