Patagonia CEO gets political, endorsing two Democratic Senate candidates

Patagonia is taking a political stand.The outdoor goods and apparel store threw its weight behind two...

Posted: Oct 20, 2018 1:03 PM
Updated: Oct 20, 2018 1:03 PM

Patagonia is taking a political stand.

The outdoor goods and apparel store threw its weight behind two Democratic candidates: Jacky Rosen, who is running for Senate in Nevada, and Senator Jon Tester who is running for re-election in Montana.

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It's the first time Patagonia has made political endorsements.

In a statement on Friday, the company said it is making the move "because of the urgent and unprecedented threats to our public lands and waters." The two candidates will help protect natural resources in Nevada and Montana, the company said.

"We need [Rosen's] leadership to protect Nevada's economy and the basic health of its people, so the business community can thrive and so Nevadans can prosper," Patagonia CEO Rose Marcario said in a statement. Founder Yvon Chouinard added that Tester "is a real advocate for hunters, hikers and Montana's thriving outdoor economy."

Patagonia said it has no interest in partisanship. Instead, "it's about standing up for the millions of Americans who want to see wild places protected for future generations."

The company employs more than 650 people in Nevada, where its global distribution center is based, and has an important outlet store in Montana, it said.

Environmentalism is a core part of Patagonia's mission.

In 2016, the company donated the $10 million it made in sales on Black Friday to grassroots environmental groups fighting to protect vital natural resources. It encourages people to cut down on waste and makes clothing using organic cotton and recycled fabrics.

Though this is the first time Patagonia has endorsed specific candidates, the company has been vocal about the importance of civic engagement.

Two years ago, Patagonia closed all of its retail stores and gave all employees a paid day off to vote. It plans to do the same on election day this year.

"This time, we're actively encouraging other companies to join us," Marcario said in a June blog post announcing the 2018 plan, "because no American should have to choose between a paycheck and fulfilling his or her duty as a citizen."

Patagonia is also a part of the Time to Vote campaign, a nonpartisan effort by CEOs to help increase voter turnout during the midterm elections.

The company has also been a vocal critic of President Donald Trump's environmental policies.

Last year, Trump said he would follow Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke's recommendations to significantly reduce two national monuments, Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante. The company offered a stern response, telling customers that "the president stole your land,"and encouraging them to take action.

The endorsements will appear on Patagonia's website, social media channels and in emails to customers.

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