Press Release

CA Students Force Debate With Koch Bros on Prop 23

Contact: Gabriel Elsner, 310-738-3738,  [email protected]


CA Student Leader, Debate Team Alumnus Challenges Koch to Debate Prop. 23

If Ignored, Will Go to Wichita to Present Challenge in Person About Koch’s Attempt to “Wreck” California’s Clean Energy Economy  


Los Angeles Cal State L.A. debate team alumnus, former student leader and Marine Corps veteran Joel Francis today challenged Charles Koch to debate the Koch-backed Proposition 23 initiative “anytime, anywhere” in the state of California. If his challenge is ignored, Francis says he will be at Koch’s Wichita, Kansas, headquarters on Tuesday to follow up on the challenge.

Francis issued the challenge via video as a part of Power Vote California, a project of the California Student Sustainability Coalition, a coalition that is fighting the initiative that Koch has backed with at least a million dollars. If passed on November 2, Prop. 23 would suspend California’s landmark Global Warming Solutions Act (AB 32). Passed in 2006, AB 32 ensures the innovation and development of clean energy solutions like solar, electric cars and more.

Francis and Power Vote California are particularly concerned that suspending AB 32 would “wreck” the most promising employment sector for students and graduates entering the job market.

Since 2005, California green jobs have grown 10 times faster than the statewide average. Now, 500,000 employees work in clean technology or green jobs in the state. One hundred economists from California and around the world have called for a “No” vote on Prop. 23 and protect AB 32 because of the legislation’s importance to California’s economic stability.

As a senior, I like that clean economy jobs have grown 10 times faster than the statewide average, but I’m deeply concerned that Prop. 23 would jeopardize $10 billion of private investment in the state’s clean economy, the most promising employment sector for young Californians,” Francis said. “If you are going to try to hurt the economy of a state you don’t even live in, then you ought to have the courage to explain yourself in person.”

If his challenge is ignored, Francis plans to travel to Wichita early next week to deliver his debate challenge letter to Koch’s office in person.

Mr. Koch, I get that you and your corporation don’t want to be part of our clean energy future. That’s your free-market choice. But that doesn’t mean you get to wreck its development for everyone else,” Francis said. “I’m not going to let you hide behind your billions of dollars in Wichita, Kansas. If I don’t hear back from you by Tuesday, I will be at the front door of your office to issue this challenge again in person. As the CEO of one of the largest privately held companies in the country, I know you can’t possibly be afraid of just one college student.”  

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About California Student Sustainability Coalition -

The California Student Sustainability Coalition (CSSC) is uniting and empowering California's community of higher education to collaboratively and nonviolently transform ourselves and our institutions based on our inherent social, economic, and ecological responsibilities. It was founded in 2003.