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The Journal Gazette

  • Courtesy photo The Rev. Kimberly Koczan

Sunday, October 29, 2017 1:00 am

Golden Pen: September

About the author

The Rev. Kimberly Koczan of Fort Wayne, whose letter was published Sept. 24, has been selected last month's Golden Pen Award winner. In the judgment of the editors, she had the most effective letter in September.

Koczan, 46, provides spiritual guidance through Wisdom'Swell. She and her husband, the Rev. Brian Flory, are parents of 6-year-old Maya. Her Washington, D.C., visit was in affiliation with the Moms Clean Air Force, part of the Environmental Defense Fund. She wrote the letter in conjunction with and on behalf of Moms Clean Air Force, which Koczan describes as a group of “intelligent, passionate, good-humored women.”

“It's a huge privilege to be in(volved) with them,” she said, adding that her interest stems from her coal-related health issues. “We don't want that for any of our children,” she said.

Taking their “mom-partisan” view on the environment to the nation's capital allowed Koczan and others to meet with Donnelly, Sen. Todd Young and others on Capitol Hill (”(Massachusetts Sen.) Elizabeth Warren hugged me in the hall,” she said). The trip was valuable for allowing group members to begin building relationships with staff members for Indiana's congressional delegation.

Koczan received a gold-plated inscribed pen for her efforts. The Golden Pen Award was established to express our appreciation for the contributions our letter writers make to the editorial page.

Wake-up call on climate

Houston and Florida, we hear you loud and clear.

Hurricanes Harvey and Irma have stunned a nation asking itself how it will face the next big one. Fact is, climate change is making high-intensity storms significantly more likely. Now is the time for a better plan.

This is why I will travel to Washington, D.C., to meet with Sen. Joe Donnelly and Rep. Jim Banks.

I will ask each of them to oppose dangerous cuts to the Environmental Protection Agency's budget, including cuts to climate change programs and other crucial health protections. Think oil spill prevention, toxic cleanup, chemical safety, Superfund emergency response and drinking water safety are important? You bet.

Just ask the millions of residents in southern states affected by unprecedented flooding.

Yet, President Donald Trump is defying common sense by proposing cuts to the very agency addressing these public health threats in Houston and elsewhere.

With a vote coming this month in Congress, our elected leaders in Indiana and every other state must fiercely defend the EPA's budget and the agency's ability to respond to extreme weather events - made worse by climate change - and the extremely toxic aftermath.