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Idea of the Day: 2012 Elections May Have Striking Effects on Our Oceans

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On November 7 the American people woke up to a post-election Washington, D.C., that looks an awful lot like pre-election Washington, D.C. President Barack Obama earned a four-year extension on his lease at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. Sen. Harry Reid (D-NV) and his Democratic colleagues retained their hold on the Senate, and Speaker of the House John Boehner (R-OH) and his Republican colleagues still control the agenda in the House of Representatives.

Despite historically bad approval ratings for Congress, which actually dipped down into the single digits as recently as last month, 21 of the 22 senators seeking re-election held onto their offices in general elections—10 others retired, and one incumbent lost in a primary election. And with four House seats still awaiting decisions as of this writing, only 25 of the 382 incumbent representatives in general elections lost their races—40 others retired, and 13 were beaten in primary elections—and five of them were running against other incumbents as a result of redistricting changes.

Yet even with the outward appearance of status quo, a deeper look inside the results of the recent elections shows that when a few key seats change hands, the effects on our oceans and coasts may be striking. There are some new obstacles to overcome, as well as some great opportunities to cultivate new leaders who will prioritize these issues in the 113th Congress.

For more on this topic, please see:

To speak with our experts on this topic, please contact:

Print: Liz Bartolomeo (poverty, health care)
202.481.8151 or

Print: Tom Caiazza (foreign policy, energy and environment, LGBT issues, gun-violence prevention)
202.481.7141 or

Print: Allison Preiss (economy, education)
202.478.6331 or

Print: Tanya Arditi (immigration, Progress 2050, race issues, demographics, criminal justice, Legal Progress)
202.741.6258 or

Print: Chelsea Kiene (women's issues,, faith)
202.478.5328 or

Print: Elise Shulman (oceans)
202.796.9705 or

Print: Benton Strong (Center for American Progress Action Fund)
202.481.8142 or

Spanish-language and ethnic media: Jennifer Molina
202.796.9706 or

TV: Rachel Rosen
202.483.2675 or

Radio: Chelsea Kiene
202.478.5328 or


This is part of a regular column: Idea of the Day

For more from the same column, click here