MANCHESTER, N.H. – The issue of climate change seems to have followed Florida Sen. Marco Rubio outside of his home state.
As the New Hampshire primary approaches, Rubio has made several appearances around the granite state.
One stop was at the Manchester Town Hall meeting where a local man questioned Rubio about his climate change plans.
“I am the proud father of three millennial Republican daughters and they have a major issue that is not often addressed by Republicans. Would you address climate change please?” he asked from the audience.
The senator paused before answering the New Hampshire father. “OK, well the climate has always changed; I don’t mean that facetiously,” he responded.
“There’s never been a time when the climate is identical; it’s always changing.”
Rubio said that when someone approaches him with legislation that attempts to tackle climate change he is very doubtful of its potential to help the environment.
“I say, ‘OK, if we pass this bill how many feet of sea rise will it prevent?’ Well, it won’t prevent any sea rise. ‘OK, well how many degrees of temperature will it avoid going up?’ Well, it won’t do that either,” he said.
Instead of prioritizing climate change legislation that he thinks hurts the economy and has no real impact on the environment, he said the better approach is to support innovators of American energy.
“We have to fully utilize all of our energy resources and that includes biofuels, renewables, all of that stuff, but we can’t destroy our economy,” Rubio said.
His answer wasn’t what another audience member, Miami Beach native Dan Kipnis, was hoping for.
“You know in Miami Beach when we get high tides we walk around in knee-deep salt water. And I’m having to sell my house now in Miami Beach now to protect my investment,” he said.
Kipnis is a retired fishing boat captain. He traveled to New Hampshire determined to ask Rubio directly about his climate change plans, but he hasn’t had the opportunity yet.
He thinks the senator blew off the issue at the Manchester town hall meeting.
“Marco, you want to be president? You gotta deal with this whether you like it or not? Climate change. It’s there, it’s real and it’s not going away,” Kipnis said.
Kipnis is an independent voter and hasn’t decided who he will vote for, but says the candidate who prioritizes climate change will get his vote.
Rubio will most likely face many more questions about his climate change policy when he begins the primary campaign in his home state.
Just last week, 15 South Florida mayors signed a letter to Sen. Rubio calling on him to, "acknowledge the reality and urgency of climate change."
The letter asks Rubio to meet with the mayors before Feb. 29, to talk about the issue.