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NextGen 2020

Jess Cadorette

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Field Director, Conservation Voters of Pennsylvania

28, Phoenixville

By Lisa Dukart

Photo By Tessa Marie Images.

“I’ve been a nature girl since I was little,” says Media native Jess Cadorette. Now, she’s dedicating her career to protecting it.

Cadorette was recently appointed statewide field director for Conservation Voters of Pennsylvania, where she previously served as its Chester County director. The nonpartisan organization works to educate Pennsylvanians on the environmental stance of elected officials and those running for office. “[We assess whether] they really vote and stick by what they say they’re going to do,” says Cadorette. “[CVPA has] a scorecard every year showing how elected officials scored.”

CVPA also endorses champions of the cause. “We’re totally nonpartisan,” she says. “We just want to make sure [the candidate] prioritizes protecting the land we live on—our planet as a whole.”

Last year, Cadorette worked with CVPA to elect two officials to the Chester County Board of Commissioners, overseeing a team of 20 that “knocked on almost 40,000 doors,” she says. “We talked to citizens about the importance of our lands and why they should take to the polls with that knowledge.”

Education is a crucial component. CVPA offers hard facts about the impact of climate change in Pennsylvania, whether it’s days of extreme heat or the record-breaking rain that occurred in August 2018. There’s also the concerning rise of Lyme disease. From 2008 to 2017, Pennsylvania had the third largest rate of confirmed cases in the country, according to the Natural Resources Defense Council. “A lot of environmental issues for folks are a little nebulous, especially something as big as climate change,” says Cadorette, adding that personalizing the issues helps lend perspective. “In the coming years, I’m hoping we build this movement larger and larger across Pennsylvania and we have people really standing up and calling upon our legislators for action.”