Training

Alex visited a different state or nation just about every other week to train and work with lawmakers and organizations on how to communicate their issues clearly and effectively. This year alone he has flown 123,000 miles across the U.S. and world.

The values-based strategic communications training he conducts consistently receives extensive praise. As an Iowa lawmaker put it, “In my 20 years working on environmental issues and at one point teaching communications, I have never seen a better presentation.” Other organizations, like the Veterans Campaign and the New Leaders Council, regularly ask Alex to train their members. One hundred percent of those surveyed recommended him to train their next class.

Additional trainings include empathy based fundraising and leadership development.

Alex also provided media training to over 900 senior officers from all branches, including foreign militaries at the U.S. Naval War College and U.S. Central Command, which is responsible for all operations in the Middle East.

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Alex Cornell du Houx was elected to the Maine House of Representatives in 2008, representing District 66, Brunswick for two terms. He served on the Veterans’ and Legal Affairs Committee and the Energy, Technology and Utilities Committees. He was chair of the Veterans Caucus and served on the task force to combat veteran’s homelessness. Cornell du Houx served as vice-chair of the National Conference of State Legislatures’ Agriculture and Energy Committee and served on NCSL’s Criminal Justice Committee. He helped found and lead the Coalition of Legislators for Energy Action Now. He is also a vice-chair of the DNC’s Veteran and Military Families Council.

According to Maine.gov, Cornell du Houx sponsored or co-sponsored 155 bills, rules, memorials, sentiments or resolutions during the 124th Legislature and 136 during the 125th Legislature. This includes seven bills enacted into law sponsored (as compared with bills co-sponsored, rules, memorials, sentiments or resolutions) by Rep. Cornell du Houx in 2008-2010 (124th) and seven bills sponsored and enacted in 2011/2012 (125th). Successful legislation co-sponsored by Cornell du Houx includes 98 bills in 2008-2010.

Energy and Economic Development
Renewable Energy Investment –Alex Cornell du Houx submitted legislation to create “Pine Tree Economic Development Zones” to encourage renewable energy investment, which was rolled into a committee bill and is now helping boost economic investment in Maine.

Weatherization —Alex Cornell du Houx worked on legislation with the aim to weatherize every house in the state and half of all businesses. He has traveled to the White House to promote Maine’s leadership in this area and sits on the board for Habitat for Humanity in midcoast Maine, where they launched a weatherization and rehab program to weatherize 150 houses in the community.

Brunswick Naval Air Station Redevelopment —Alex Cornell du Houx worked hard with the region’s delegation to ensure the redevelopment of BNAS brings quality jobs and turns into an economic boost to Brunswick and the region. He worked on legislation to bring the University of Maine’s and Southern Maine’s Community College’s advanced composite program to the Brunswick Landing.

Veterans and Green Jobs – A third of those who deployed with the Maine National Guard did not have employment when they deployed.Alex Cornell du Houx worked to bring a “Veterans Green Jobs” program to the state, which trains veterans in weatherization and clean energy technology jobs.

Preserve Home-ownership and Protecting Tenants During Foreclosure –Alex Cornell du Houx submitted and cosponsored legislation to protect tenants during foreclosures and help homeowners keep their homes, which is now helping homeowners and tenants across the state.

United Nations Climate Change Conference –Alex Cornell du Houx traveled to  Copenhagen for the climate negotiations, where he spoke at an international press conference, participated on panels, and promoted Maine’s leadership in weatherization and Regional New England Greenhouse Gas Initiative programs.

Renewable-energy portfolio (RPS) –Alex Cornell du Houx successfully defended Maine’s RPS and worked with the NH state legislature to successfully defend their RPS. Mane’s RPS has boosted the state’s economy, according to a recent London Economics report.

Weatherize the Statehouse –Alex Cornell du Houx successfully created a law to weatherize the state house as we should be leading by example and saving needed taxpayer funds.

Reduce the state’s dependency on oil –Alex Cornell du Houx passed legislation to set real goals for the state to reduce our dependence on oil as Maine is one of the most dependent states on oil in the nation. He worked to adopt the legislation in a number of states and California recently singed it into law. It will improve our energy security, economic security and environment.

Protecting oil and gas consumers –Alex Cornell du Houx worked with both parties, Rep. Prescott and the oil and gas companies in Maine to write legislation praised by Gov. LePage, to protect oil and gas consumers from fraud.

Rail and Amtrak – As a member of the Rail Caucus,Alex Cornell du Houx worked hard to bring passenger and freight trains to Brunswick and the rest of the state. Maine recently  35 million dollars to upgrade the tracks from Portland to Brunswick in stimulus funding because of the work accomplished to make the project shovel ready. We are pleased to see Amtrak is now serving Brunswick.

Education
Alex Cornell du Houx volunteered in the Brunswick school system for six years as an America Counts and Reads tutor and coaches boy’s lacrosse and soccer at the Brunswick junior high school. He also worked to improve the Maine Learning Results in underage substance abuse and athletic policy.

Alex Cornell du Houx chairs the Mitchell Institute Alumni Council and sits on their advisory board – founded by Senator Mitchell to give Maine students the opportunity to attend college and further their professional development. The council works to provide resources for Mitchell Institute Alumni and current Mitchell Scholars.

Veterans Education –Alex Cornell du Houx passed legislation to make Maine one of the only states in the nation that allows any veteran to take advantage our quality higher education system at no cost in conjunction with the 21st Century GI Bill.

Community College Development –Alex Cornell du Houx worked hard with the Brunswick delegation to bring a bond to the ballot to fund the development of Southern Maine Community College at the redeveloped Brunswick Naval Air Station to focus on composite technology.

Financial Literacy –Alex Cornell du Houx implemented a financial literacy program to Brunswick’s high school with former state representative Tommy Davison at no cost to the district.

Local Food and farms –Alex Cornell du Houx wrote legislation that was rolled into another successful bill to promote the use of local food form Maine farms in our school lunch and breakfast programs.

Environment
Alex Cornell du Houx is vice chair of the National Council of State Legislators Energy Committee and is a member of the National Council of Environmental Legislators. He worked for a summer on a local organic farm and supports organic farms and farmers’ markets.

Climate Change –Alex Cornell du Houx works on climate change, energy and national security issues with the Truman National Security Project. He traveled to Copenhagen for the climate negotiations where he spoke at an international press conference and panels on this issue and promoted Maine’s leadership through our weatherization and Regional New England Greenhouse Gas Initiative programs.Alex Cornell du Houx’s efforts on national security and climate change have been mentioned by President Obama and recognized nationally in the media (www.operationfree.net).

Preserving Maine’s Quality of Place –Alex Cornell du Houx introduced legislation to promote renewable energy investment at the Brunswick Naval Air Station and sponsored/co-sponsored legislation to help prevent tarsand oil from entering the state, lead in wheels and recycling of fluorescent light bulbs to prevent mercury from spreading, responsible water extraction, and supported funding for land for Maine’s future, as well as legislation to weatherize every house and half of businesses in Maine.

Healthcare
Alex Cornell du Houx worked for the Governor’s Office of Health Policy and Finance and has been active in lobbying for quality, accessible, affordable healthcare for everyone at the national, state and community level with the Oasis health clinic.

Dental Care — Alex is co-sponsored successful legislation to ensure insurance companies provide dental care for all children by age one, not age four, as by then their teeth and long term health are permanently harmed.

Physical Education – Alex co-sponsored successful legislation to promote physical education in our school system to prevent childhood obesity.

Family Caregivers – Alex worked on and co-sponsored legislation to protect family caregivers with Rep. Walsh Innes to provide for mothers in the workplace.

Community Dental Care – Alex wrote successful legislation that allows retired dentists to volunteer at clinics to provide a much-needed service to the community. Before the legislation they had to pay hefty maintenance fees just to volunteer.

Veterans
Alex is a Marine who deployed to Fallujah, Iraq in 2006 and sits on the Veterans and Legal Affairs Committee. He also sits on the VA Homeless Veterans Working Group and chairs the Veterans Caucus. He is currently taking a commission in the Maine National Guard.

Veterans Education –Alex Cornell du Houx passed legislation to make Maine one of the only states in the nation that allows any veteran to take advantage our quality higher education system at no cost in conjunction with the 21st Century GI Bill.

Homelessness –Alex Cornell du Houx sponsored and passed legislation to evaluate and address the issue of Maine’s homeless veterans and sits on the VA Homeless Veterans Working Group.

Veterans’ Service Officer –Alex Cornell du Houx worked hard with members of his committee to find the funding to hire a veterans’ service officer in southern Maine as the veteran center was closed there and Cumberland and York County have the highest population of veterans.

State Parks –Alex Cornell du Houx was successful in providing free access to all veterans to our state parks and historical sites as a small token of thanks and a chance to relax after returning from deployment.

Women Veterans’ Memorial –Alex Cornell du Houx co-sponsored successful legislation to recognize the heroic efforts of women veterans and provide for a memorial in the State House Hall of Flags.

Military Children –Alex Cornell du Houx co-sponsored successful legislation to join an interstate compact to make the transition easier for children of military members entering new school systems.

Maine Armories –Alex Cornell du Houx passed a resolution to request that Congress provide a higher percentage of the funding to operate our armories as our service members are being utilized at a higher level by the federal government.  Currently, the National Guard sells property to pay for armory upkeep.

Government & Service
Lobbyist Disclosure and Photos –Alex Cornell du Houx co-sponsored and worked on successful legislation in his committee to require all lobbyists to wear name tags and provide a photo of themselves online at the ethics commission’s website.

Native Americans – At the start of his first session, Alex Cornell du Houx worked to change the rules to allow our two Native American representatives to have their names displayed with the rest of the legislature.

Strengthening Clean Elections –Alex Cornell du Houx co-sponsored successful legislation to strengthen our clean election system and make it viable for the future.

Equality –Alex Cornell du Houx co-sponsored legislation to end discrimination in civil marriage and affirm religious freedom.

Non-Profits –Alex Cornell du Houx successfully co-sponsored legislation to allow non-profits to hold larger ticket raffles to benefit the community. Alex also successfully sponsored legislation that allowed retired dentists to obtain licenses to practice in nonprofit clinics.

Click the link below to access via download all successful legislation from 2008-2012.

Conell du Houx Successful Legislation 2008-2012

We all want a strong economy, a healthy place to live, and a clean environment. These are universal goals shared by citizens throughout our nation. No one wants to see a world where pollution is holding back our prosperity.

Sadly, there are those who say pollution is necessary for our economy and we will suffer if we do not allow polluters to continue to dump carbon dioxide into our air without limit. This is an old scare tactic and false choice that has been disprovenover and over.

More than 97 percent of scientists say we are already experiencing human-caused global warming. In the military, if a commander knew there was a 97 percent threat of harm – and did not take action – he or she would be relieved of command.

Recently, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) proposed to reduce carbon dioxide pollution for power plants by 30 percent below 2005 levels. This is a result of the EPA and the courts finding that carbon dioxide endangers public health and should be regulated under section 111(d) of the Clean Air Act.

This is significant because U.S. electric power plants emit about 2.2 billion tons of carbon dioxide each year, or roughly 40 percent of the nation’s total emissions. Similar common sense limits on mercury and soot, which date back to 1970, have not harmed our economy – in fact they have helped create an environment of increased investment and prosperity. By limiting carbon dioxide we can continue atradition of successfully protecting our health and environment while growing our economy.

There are multiple strategies to limit carbon pollution that will improve our health and economy. In fact the EPA has suggested 50 different ways to implement the proposal. There is no silver bullet solution – rather a silver buckshot strategy gives each state the flexibility to effectively protect their health and economy.

Under the rules, states across the nation have the obligation – and opportunity – to develop a plan to meet the carbon dioxide pollution standards. The state of Iowa is an excellent example as it ranks third in new clean energy production.

State Senator Rob Hogg from Iowa is a leader in combating global warming. During my last visit to Iowa he explained how his state has already experienced unprecedented floods, severe drought, and multiple ecological disruptions over the last 30 years. Iowa’s worst flood in 2008 cost $10 billion. Nationally the frequency of billion-dollar storm-related disasters has increased five percent each year since 1980 according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

In addition, nearly half of all Americans live in counties in the U.S. where pollution levels make the air unhealthy to breathe, according to the American Lung Association.

Global warming is not an abstract issue in Iowa or across the nation – it is a reality. Unfortunately, science tells us it is going to get worse until we slow down and stop the buildup of carbon dioxide pollution.

Currently, we limit the amount of many pollutants and toxins, such as sulfur dioxide, mercury, and arsenic, that power plants are allowed to spew into the air we breathe, but there are no limits on carbon dioxide – even though power plants are the single largest source of carbon dioxide pollution.

The idea of setting higher standards to cut carbon dioxide pollution isn’t new – 47 states have utilities that run energy efficiency programs, 39 plus D.C. have renewable portfolio standards, and 10 have market-based greenhouse gas emissions programs.

This is an opportunity to expand on our clean energy success. For example, Senator Hogg explained that Iowa now obtains 27 percent of its total electricity generation from wind, an industry that employs nearly 7,000 people in his state. The use of wind energy led to other economic successes, attracting major tech companies that want to use clean energy. Google, Facebook, IBM, and Microsoft, combined, have invested billions in Iowa in part because they want clean energy to power their operations.

Nationally the solar energy industries report jobs in their industry are increasing faster than any other sector in the United States – by more than 20 percent each year. Every four minutes, another American home or business goes solar, supporting workers whose jobs can’t be outsourced.

Working together, we can turn the threat of carbon dioxide pollution into an opportunity to boost our economy, protect the health of our community, and protect our children’s future.

Published in the Huffington Post: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/alex-cornell-du-houx/we-need-carbon-pollution-rules_b_5454309.html?

The EPA held hearings on clean car standards yesterday and I had the opportunity to testify in support of the new standards that will help move us off our dependence on oil.

When I served in Iraq in and around Fallujah, I came across a line of cars, trucks, and tractors that stretched as far as I could see. We decided to investigate and finally reached the end of the line to find they had been waiting all day in 100-degree heat for gas and diesel. It struck me how dependent this nation was on a single source of energy and how crippled it made them. They were so desperate for this single source of energy that when the curfew set in they essentially rioted against us. It also made me pause and think about how the United States was dependent on this single source of energy as well, and how we are essentially forced to line up to countries like Iran and Venezuela for our fuel.

This is one of the reasons I joined Operation Free, a coalition of veterans and national security organizations to ensure that we have an energy future that makes us more secure, boosts our economy, and keeps our environment healthy.

Our military leaders have taken note, and the Department of Defense, the nation’s largest energy consumer, has a goal to reduce their carbon pollution 20 percent by 2020. The Quadrennial Defense Review stated, “While climate change alone does not cause conflict, it may act as an accelerant of instability or conflict, placing a burden to respond on civilian institutions and militaries around the world.” The CIA has also opened a center on climate change.

The Army has one of the largest electric vehicle fleets in the world — 4000 vehicles in three years. The Air Force will have 50 percent of its aviation fuel from biofuel blends by 2016. The Marines are aiming for a 30 percent energy reduction by 2015. The Navy is launching the Great Green Fleet by 2016, which includes hybrid destroyers and F18s that run off of biofuels. The Navy also aims to reduce petroleum use in commercial fleet by 50 percent by 2015.

When in Iraq, I saw that our dependency on oil was a constant threat to our security and independence. Our dependence on oil makes us vulnerable to unstable and unfriendly regimes. The Department of Defense has set ambitious goals to reduce our dependence on oil and improve fuel standards because they understand the threat it poses to our nation.

This is not just a lesson for our military. Not only does cutting our dependence on oil make us more secure, it invests hard earned American money back in to our economy. Every day, we are sending a billion dollars overseas to pay for oil, money that could be staying in this country and supporting our own economy. Nearly half of the oil is used is by our cars and trucks. Increasing fuel efficiency will have a huge effect on our national expenditures on oil.

A 54.5 mile-per-gallon standard for cars and light trucks by 2025 is the single biggest step we can take right now to curb this dangerous addiction to oil. It would help my community and countless others around the country improve their economic security. It will keep America competitive with foreign auto manufacturers, many of whom are already operating under higher standards than our own. And it would strengthen our national security, making us independent and keeping billions of our dollars out of the hands of people who don’t have America’s interests in mind.

By implementing these standards, we will be taking control of our energy future and creating a more secure America.

Publsihed in the Huffington Post: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/alex-cornell-du-houx/epa-detroit-hearing-less-_b_1210902.html?

Welcome Home

After nine years of war in Iraq, every American should be happy to hear that our marines, sailors, soldiers, airmen and airwomen are coming home to their families and that Iraq is on its way to independence. Personally, I am incredibly thankful that President Obama has stayed true on his promise to get our troops out of Iraq. The president has shown that he is committed to securing Iraq’s freedom and independence, and the Iraqis have shown that they are willing and able now to lead this fight on their own. His foreign policy has built America up again as a powerful force in spreading democracy, whether it is securing Iraq, transitioning in Afghanistan, or helping liberate Libya.

I had the opportunity to experience what happened in Iraq with the Marines in Fallujah. I am thankful that we have done what we came to do, and am grateful to bring our troops home. The day I came home was one of the happiest, not only of my life, but of my friends’ and family as well.

The men and women of our military have, with skill and bravery, brought Iraq back from the brink. Today, they can all be proud of what they’ve accomplished and overjoyed to be coming home. Thousands of brave men and women (4,500) have lost their lives in service to their country over the last 9 years in Iraq. This is an end worthy of their sacrifice.

But the transition is not easy, and President Obama has worked to ensure the move home is the best it can be for our veterans. As part of the American Jobs Act, job-makers could earn $5,600 or $9,600 in tax credits by hiring veterans who have been unemployed for over 6 months. And since President Obama signed it into law in 2009, the Post-9/11 GI Bill has helped 600,000 veterans go to school. President Obama has shown time and again his gratitude for our veterans, and his commitment to their prosperity after they come home.

So thank you, President Obama, for living up to your promises of finishing the Iraq war, defeating Osama bin Laden, and continuing to draw our troops out of Afghanistan. The United States of America has reestablished both its strength and its international reputation. And to our troops returning home, to their families, and to a safe and secure America, Happy Holidays.

Published in the Huffington Post: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/alex-cornell-du-houx/iraq-war-withdrawal_b_1151059.html?

Make US Strong

America’s greatness does not come solely from its military might, but also from its unique role as a force to provide stability and opportunity in the world.

While this ability stems in part from our military, it emanates also from the values we hold that help make other nations “great.” WWII was won largely because America won the battle for the hearts and minds of the international community. The Greatest Generation helped rebuild the countries that were ravaged by the war in order to facilitate the growth of healthy, free societies.

Today, the same kind of international development is needed if we are to succeed in fighting terrorism. I saw this firsthand when I deployed to Iraq with the Marines. Our military superiority could not win the battle alone. Instead the combination of a strong military with a robust development program helped pave the way to much more stable country.

This fight does not just need the use of force, it needs the construction of good schools, effective police, and safe communities. Yet there are those in Congress who want to cut funding for international aid. Even though Director Petraeus and former Secretary Gates agree this development is needed, Conservatives in Congress are unwilling to make the investment in America’s, and indeed the world’s, security.

Our military is eradicating terrorism. International development will make sure it doesn’t come back. Congress wants to cut funding for many government programs, but international aid should not and can not be on the chopping block. America can be great again, as long as we remember and act on the values that made us great before.

To see more, check out the Make US Strong Campaign’s new ad, GI JOE.

Published in the Huffington Post: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/alex-cornell-du-houx/make-us-strong_b_1131309.html?

We all agree that we need to reduce our national debt, and one surefire way to reduce our spending is to fine-tune the national budget. However, certain budget expenditures are vital to America’s security. House Republicans made reckless and dangerous choices in their latest budget proposal, demonstrating that they are willing to make America less safe in order to make a partisan point.

Alpha company and I arrived in Iraq just as the Marine Corps began to provide a new, stronger type of armor. This armor was a smart and needed investment; when we were hit by roadside bombs, this armor saved the lives of Marines in my company. It is unfortunate that Marines in Iraq had to wait so long for the armor to arrive, but this life-saving investment was well worth it.

Unfortunately, many conservatives are making the same mistakes we made in Iraq. They are not equipping America to contend with the 21st century battlefield. They plan on cutting counterinsurgency efforts in Afghanistan and anti-terrorism protections for public transportation. In addition to endangering our troops, they are abandoning our veterans at home – the cuts include funds that keep homeless veterans off the streets.

Below are three dangerous cuts proposed by House Republican leadership:

• Counterinsurgency funding. Cut USAID by $121m (9% cut), which will halt new civilian programs in Afghanistan and Pakistan that are necessary for the counterinsurgency strategy to work. These programs were called for by US military commanders. [Analysis of HR1].

• Nuclear terrorism prevention. House cuts would make it easier for someone to steal nuclear material (cut the non-proliferation funding). That material would be easier to get into the country (cut the container screening at DHS). Once it’s here, it’d be harder to detect (cut the Domestic Nuclear Detection office). And if someone manages to set off a dirty bomb in a major city, the first responders won’t know how to deal with it (cut the weapons of mass destruction first responder training). [Program cuts in the FY2011 Continuing Resolution]

• Homeless veterans. Terminated the Veterans Affairs Supportive Housing Program, the aim of which is to end veteran homelessness in 5 years. There were more than 130,000 homeless veterans in 2009. The VASH program provided housing vouchers for them. Here is a great example of local story: WTNH, New Haven, CT.

Published in the Huffington Post: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/alex-cornell-du-houx/house-republican-cut-nati_b_827185.html?

If there’s one point of agreement between President Obama’s supporters and his critics, it’s that Barack Obama bears little resemblance to Ronald Reagan. However, on one major issue, this point deserves a rethink. President Obama’s vision of a world free of nuclear weapons is straight out of Ronald Reagan’s playbook. The “New START” nuclear weapons treaty that President Obama signed shows his resolve to keep America secure, just as the elder Republican did.

It’s easy to forget, but Ronald Reagan believed that nuclear weapons deserved to be abolished as soon as reasonably possible. To his mind, such weapons were “totally irrational, totally inhumane, good for nothing but killing, possibly destructive of life on earth and civilization.” That’s why he launched negotiations with the Soviet Union, reducing the likelihood of nuclear conflict and working toward the day when the world’s deadliest weapons could become a relic of the past.

Of course, President Reagan realized that a nuclear free world was nowhere near the horizon. Instead of pie-in-the-sky delusions, his administration created a long-term framework for reducing the risk of nuclear war. A major piece of that framework was the Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty, known as START. The final treaty was signed by President George H.W. Bush and went into force under President Bill Clinton. At its birth, START helped ease Cold War tensions. When it expired in 2009, the U.S. and Russia had cut their nuclear arsenals by eighty percent.

Barack Obama has looked to replicate Ronald Reagan’s vision of a nuclear free world, and his practical success in turning that vision into a reality. In April 2009, President Obama gave a major speech in Prague, promising American leadership in working toward a world free from nuclear weapons. His first order of business: concluding a “New START” treaty with Russia to achieve further reductions in unnecessary nuclear weapons.

The U.S. and Russia possessed enough nuclear weapons to destroy the planet several times over. To minimize the risk of nuclear war — accidental or intentional — the two nations would work together to reduce excess weapons. Each country would keep enough to satisfy basic security needs, while getting rid of unnecessary firepower.

This is the same motivation that animated President Reagan in the 1980s. But President Obama has more threats to address. Terrorists are seeking nuclear weapons, dangerous nations such as Iran are running nuclear programs, and countries that do not possess nuclear weapons are looking to develop nuclear energy programs that could easily be turned into weapons programs.

Since the United States and Russia possess 95% of the world’s nuclear weapons, President Obama knew other nations would refuse to limit their own nuclear ambitions if the world’s top two nuclear powers didn’t take the first step. Furthermore, the new treaty reduces the likelihood of accidental nuclear war, while shrinking the amount of nuclear material in the world, making it more difficult for terrorists to acquire nuclear weapons.

When Barack Obama and his Russian counterpart sign “New START” this week, they will take a major step in making the world a safer place. While we face new threats abroad and polarized politics at home, the sight of a Democratic President carrying on the tradition of a Republican predecessor does more than protect US security. It goes a long way in proving that morning in America is far from over.

Published in the Huffington Post: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/alex-cornell-du-houx/president-obama-and-presi_b_533866.html?