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Candidate for Chair of Fairfax County, Largest Jurisdiction in the Commonwealth, Endorses Green New Deal Virginia

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See below for a video by Ryan McElveen for Fairfax County (population: 1.2 million) Board Chair, endorsing a “Green New Deal” for Virginia. Great job by Ryan McElveen.  I’d add that it’s time for everyone running for public office in Virginia, whether for General Assembly, County Board, School Board or whatever, to tell us what they plan to do to address what is, by far, the #1 challenge facing humanity – climate change and, more broadly, environmental destruction. This is NOT just a national issue, of course, but very much a state and local matter as well. To deal with this crisis, we’re all going to have to step up big time – and immediately, as there’s no time left to waste.

McElveen Endorses Green New Deal Virginia
Fairfax Chairman candidate signs on as supporter of new initiative

MCLEAN, Va. – Fairfax County Board of Supervisors Chairman candidate Ryan McElveen announced today that he will pursue the goals outlined by the Green New Deal Virginia initiative.

“Even as our national leaders ignore the impacts of climate change, we must do what we can at the local level to prepare for these realities, and we must embrace sustainability in all our building and development,” McElveen said in a video posted on social media. “It’s up to all of us—even in our corner of the world—to do what we can to save the planet our children will inherit.”

McElveen recognizes that, “Like other coastal regions of Virginia affected by the flooding resulting from sea-level rise and extreme rainfall, Fairfax County is being directly impacted by climate change. It is past time for the County to become a national model for sustainability efforts and adopt both a community-wide energy and climate action plan and a resiliency plan.”

McElveen enthusiastically backs the mission of the Green New Deal as a critical element of Fairfax County and Virginia’s future. McElveen’s goals include:

  • Implementing a just and equitable plan to transition Fairfax County to 40 percent renewables by 2030 and 100 percent renewables by 2050 that leaves no workers or communities behind;
  • Increasing the energy efficiency of public transportation vehicle fleets; enhancing public transportation accessibility; and preparing our transportation infrastructure for electric and autonomous vehicles;
  • Aligning our K-12, community college and higher education systems with the job needs of the renewable energy sector;
  • Building an energy efficient smart-grid and pushing forward with solar on schools and other community buildings;
  • Improving residential and commercial energy efficiency;
  • Curbing pollution to ensure that the water we drink and the air we breathe is clean;
  • Enhancing state-local collaboration on climate issues; and
  • Promoting local-scale agriculture in Fairfax County.

During his two terms as an at-large member of the Fairfax County School Board, Fairfax County Public Schools (FCPS) was honored by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) with ENERGY STAR certification of 173 buildings in 2018, the most of any school division in the United States. McElveen’s record as a School Board member includes:

  • Co-sponsoring the push to include planning for renewable energy in the FCPS Capital Improvement Plan;
  • Advocating for a Board resolution calling for state and federal action on climate change;
  • Joining with the “Solar on the Schools” student advocacy group to press for expanded solar power generation opportunities;
  • Supporting the expansion of the FCPS “Get2Green” program for environmental stewardship, as well as embedding sustainability education in the curriculum;
  • Championing the system-wide study that led to the expansion of farm-to-school cafeteria offerings, installation of school gardens throughout the county, and implementation of salad bars in all schools;
  • Successfully leading the effort to substitute Styrofoam lunch trays with recyclable cardboard alternatives; and
  • Successfully advocating for the addition of “global citizen” to the FCPS “Portrait of the Graduate” framework.

“We have a choice to make. As one of the largest jurisdictions in the United States, will Fairfax County lead the way on climate change or wait for Washington and Richmond politicians?” McElveen said. “Local jurisdictions in Virginia do not have the autonomy they need, especially when it comes to land use issues, and the Green New Deal will make the pathway clearer for county-state collaboration to address climate change.”

McElveen concludes that “now is the time for our community to come together and take action on the urgent climate crisis.”

McElveen will kick-off his campaign for Chairman with a Winterfest celebration on Jan. 19, a free event that is open to the public. More information about McElveen’s campaign is available at www.mcelveenforchairman.com.