BOULDER, Colo. (CBS4) – Hundreds of people in Boulder over the weekend joined two members of Congress — Colorado Rep. Joe Neguse and New York Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez — to talk about what is becoming an bigger issue for Democrats: climate change. Activists are calling for aggressive action and the message of both Neguse and Ocasio-Cortez was: if you want change, vote for candidates that support the Green New Deal.

Colorado Rep. Joe Neguse and New York Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, center left, and Rep. Joe Neguse, center right  (credit: CBS)

“We have them on their heels, but we have to keep the heat up,” said Ocasio-Cortez, the deal’s co-sponsor.

“Vote. Pick candidates that you believe in. Go knock doors for them. Go walk precincts for them. This will be the most important election of our lifetimes,” said Neguse, a Democrat who represents Colorado’s 2nd Congressional District which includes Boulder, and is among the members of his party who has signed onto the Green New Deal.

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez in Boulder

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez in Boulder (credit: CBS)

Ocasio-Cortez says she plans to make climate change a key issue in the 2020 election.

“Anything less than a solution of the scale of the crisis is a form of climate denial,” she said.

Joe Neguse

Rep. Joe Neguse (credit: CBS)

Ocasio-Cortez is a lightning rod for controversy in Washington D.C., but she was greeted with big cheers in Boulder.

“When people call the Green New Deal too sweeping or too ambitious, what I say is that they don’t realize how big this problem is,” she said.

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez in Boulder

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez speaks in Boulder. (credit: CBS)

One of the most important national races in the 2020 election is Colorado’s U.S. Senate race. If a challenger can beat incumbent Sen. Cory Gardner, a Republican, the Democrats will have a better chance at gaining control of the Senate and passing a Green New Deal.

“(It’s) socialism. When the government comes in, takes over, production takes over the means and tells people where they can and can’t work,” Gardner said.

When asked if he’s worried about climate change, Gardner replied with “You bet.”

“That’s why my first hearing was on climate change. That’s why I continue to promote renewable energy, that’s why I continue to introduce legislation to advance solar battery storage,” he said.

Ocasio-Cortez also gave the keynote speech at the Boulder County Democrats’ annual fundraiser on Saturday night following her appearance with Neguse. Some of the Democrats running for Senate were set to be among the attendees at that event, but that didn’t include former Gov. John Hickenlooper, who has been highly critical of the Green New Deal.

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