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New CA Congressman Brings Alternative Energy Background

The only new face unseating an incumbent in California's 53-member Congressional delegation turned out to be an alternative energy entrepreneur with a doctorate in mathematics. Rep.-elect Jerry McNerney, a wind energy specialist, unseated seven-term Rep. Richard Pombo from the state's 11th District in the San Francisco Bay Area. Pombo was chairman of the House Resources Committee. Environmental groups have taken credit for defeating Pombo whom they accuse of trying to roll-back various environmental protections in California and elsewhere.

McNerney's campaign against Pombo was closely watched nationally because of the shift to a Democratic majority in the House. No other incumbent lost in California.

After spending his first two years after high school at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, McNerney earned undergraduate and doctoral degrees at the University of New Mexico. He later served several years as a contractor to Sandia National Laboratories on Kirtland Air Force Base working on national security programs.

In the mid-1980s, McNerney accepted a senior engineering position with U.S. Windpower, Kenetech, and in 1994 he began working as an energy consultant for Pacific Gas and Electric Co., FloWind, the Electric Power Research Institute, and other utility companies. He is now the CEO of a start-up company that will manufacture wind turbines.

According to his campaign website, McNerney's energy platform for Congress calls for big increases in fuel efficiency for new vehicles, more public transportation, stepped up energy efficiency on a national level, more incentives for renewable power development and upgrading the nation's electric infrastructure.

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