By Will Driscoll, Arlington 350 Core Group member
In a big win for anti-corruption and clean energy advocates, 13 elected House of Delegates members have pledged not to accept campaign contributions from Dominion Energy or Appalachian Power. (Dominion has blocked clean energy progress for years by funding campaigns of candidates in both parties.)
Tom Perriello made the pledge famous last summer when he signed it during his campaign for governor. Around that time, 13 House of Delegates candidates who have now been elected—or one-quarter of next session’s Democratic delegation—also signed the pledge, according to Activate Virginia, the pledge tracker.
This pledge approach could become a model for progress in other states that also face corruption and foot-dragging on clean energy, such as the ten states flagged in a report by the Center for Biological Diversity.
The 13 “Dominion $ Deniers” who will help outweigh the legislature’s climate deniers include Delegates Sam Rasoul and 12 newcomers:
- Jennifer Foy (HD 2)
- Wendy Gooditis (HD 10)
- Danica Roem (HD 13)
- Kelly Fowler (HD 21)
- Elizabeth Guzman (HD 31)
- Kathy Tran (HD 42)
- Lee Carter (HD 50)
- Hala Ayala (HD 51)
- Dawn Adams (HD 68)
- Schuyler Van Valkenburg (HD 72)
- Debra Rodman (HD 73)
- Cheryl Turpin (HD 85).
Of the newcomers, all but Cheryl Turpin ran in districts won by Hillary Clinton in 2016. Three of these candidates—Wendy Gooditis, Kathy Tran and Dawn Adams—went beyond signing the pledge to campaign on the issue of clean renewable energy.
Activate Virginia has published a short bill introduced by State Senator Chap Petersen this year that would prohibit state legislators from accepting campaign contributions from state-regulated utilities. That bill has been supported by incumbent State Senators Creigh Deeds and Jeremy McPike, plus Delegates Sam Rasoul and Mark Levine and newly elected Delegates Danica Roem, Kelly Fowler, Elizabeth Guzman, Lee Carter, and Debra Rodman.
Presumably, Activate Virginia will next track “No Dominion $” pledges by candidates for State Senate for the 2019 elections.