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Leader No. 19: Kayla Race Has Sunny Attitude in Fight for Environment

The 26-year-old says she grew up understanding link between health and the environment.

If anyone is an advocate for the environment, it’s 26-year-old Kayla Race.

Race, a policy advocate at the Environmental Health Coalition, is a member of the Climate and Energy Working Group at the Port of San Diego and SANDAG’s Energy Working Group. She also successfully advocated for San Diego’s PACE program and Assembly Bill 1990, also known as “Solar for All.”

Race got into her field because of an early understanding of the importance of the environment.

“I grew up with an intuitive understanding and appreciation for the connection between health and a healthy environment,” she said.

“As I grew older and started to explore the world outside my small town, I was troubled to learn that this access to a healthy and safe environment was a privilege not enjoyed by everyone and, on top of that, these disadvantaged communities would be hit the hardest by climate change.

“My goal for the future is to continue working to make our world a healthier, more sustainable, and just place, and to never lose the hope and drive of a twentysomething.”

She said she’s inspired by her colleagues who have the “passion, dedication, courage and knowledge with which they tenaciously fight for environmental and social justice.”

Advice for young people:

“At my age, I’m sure my need for the advice of others is greater than my qualifications to dole it out.  But from my limited world experience I’ve learned that working hard in a career that you enjoy and find meaningful brings far more life fulfillment than easy work in an uninspired job.”

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