Home 2019 Elections Where Do Democratic Virginia House of Delegates Candidates in Primaries Stand on...

Where Do Democratic Virginia House of Delegates Candidates in Primaries Stand on the Issues? Part 1: Environment/Energy

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According to VPAP, there are going to be 13 Democratic primaries for House of Delegates this June 11. Who are the candidates and where do they stand on some key issues – moving towards 100% clean energy and protecting the environment, preventing gun violence, defending women’s reproductive choice and access, fighting for LGBT equality, expanding healthcare access and quality, promoting sustainable economic development, addressing the opioid epidemic, etc.? Here’s part 1, on environment/clean energy.

House District 18 (Fauquier, Culpeper, Warren, Rappahannock Counties; 60% Gillespie district; Republican incumbent Michael Webert)
Tristan Shields –  Says “Virginia needs to do its part to meet the Clean Power Plan standards,” that “the energy of the future is clean” and that “We must be smart about investing in clean initiatives like solar power and off-shore wind energy to reduce the state’s carbon footprint.” Regarding the Atlantic Coast Pipeline (ACP) and Mountain Valley Pipeline (MVP) projects, he says they “may be needed and could possibly bring jobs to Virginia,” but that they weaken “the principle of eminent domain,” so “as it stands now, I cannot support the pipelines.” Has signed the Activate Virginia pledge not to take money from Dominion Energy or Appalachian Power.
Laura GalanteBelieves that renewable energy is “about jobs and our country’s future energy needs,” that Virginia should “seize the opportunity to lead in what is becoming a economic driver and energy sector game-changer”; that we need to “push our state energy company towards an innovative business model.” I don’t see anything on her website about the ACP or MVP. Also, has signed the Activate Virginia pledge not to take money from Dominion Energy or Appalachian Power.

House District 20 (Augusta County, Staunton City, Waynesboro City, Nelson County, Highland County; 57% Gillespie district; Republican incumbent Dickie Bell)
Jennifer LewisA long-time and dedicated environmental activist. Says she “opposes both the proposed Atlantic Coast and Mountain Valley Pipelines,” also that “priority should be green energy infrastructure and jobs” and “legislation moving us towards 100% clean and renewable energy as soon as possible.” Has signed the Activate Virginia pledge not to take money from Dominion Energy or Appalachian Power. Has endorsed the Green New Deal Virginia.
David BlanchardHe’s listed on VPAP, but I don’t see a website for his campaign. [UPDATE: someone sent it to me – thanks!] Looking at his Facebook page, there’s nothing about his stances on the issues. So…got me. As for his website, Blanchard writes: “I know the complicated issues of the Dominion pipeline, which will affect many of the citizens of the 20th District directly in Highland, Nelson and Augusta Counties. The pipeline is planned to run close to my house and scar a mile and a half of my family’s farm. In particular, I opposed plans to remove a mountaintop, where an entire neighborhood gets its spring water, and the company’s clearing of land without permits. As a public official, I considered the jobs and revenue it could bring to our area, but the construction jobs are temporary, and there will be very few full-time jobs. Dominion needs to be held accountable. The taking of property and contaminating of drinking water are actions both parties can agree are wrong.” Not sure where he’s at regarding the Activate Virginia pledge.

House District 26 (Harrisonburg City, Rockingham County; 53% Gillespie district; Republican incumbent Tony Wilt)
Brent FinneganHe argues that “we have fewer than twelve years to take meaningful action on the breakdown of our planet’s climate” so “we need a bold vision that will fight poverty and inequality, grow our economy, and protect and preserve our natural resources,” that “this will require large investments and job training programs in renewable energy,” and that “Virginia should explore decarbonization programs funded through grants, as well as innovative solutions like carbon tax-and-dividend. I don’t see anything on his website specifically about the ACP or MVP. He signed the Activate Virginia pledge not to take money from Dominion Energy or Appalachian Power. Has also endorsed the Green New Deal Virginia.
Cathy Copeland –  Says “Virginia needs to take bold steps to protect our environment, but we need to be careful to create a sustainable work environment as well,” that “a Climate Action Plan would create a system for reeducating individuals who are transitioning from work in the fossil fuel industry, and support the development of private and community-owned renewable energy projects.” She says “there should be a moratorium on all new fossil fuel projects” (including natural gas pipelines), and that she supports “the federal Green New Deal,” and that “until the federal GND is implemented, in order to make the most effective strides in protecting our environment, we need to have clear, direct legislation that moves toward renewable energy sources and pushes for more regulation of energy companies like Dominion. She signed the Activate Virginia pledge not to take money from Dominion Energy or Appalachian Power.

House District 38 (Fairfax County; 73% Northam district)
Del. Kaye Kory
– Kory says she is “fighting for our right to clean air and water,” also that she will “always vote to prevent pollution and bring green energy businesses to Virginia.” Also on her website, she says she has “a long-standing commitment to developing green energy and reducing consumption” and does “not believe that Dominion Power has done enough.” And she says, “I stand with Clean Virginia, the Virginia Poverty Law Center, and other environmentally conscious organizations in our Commonwealth. Dominion must be held accountable for keeping its $870 million commitment to energy efficiency.” I don’t see anything on her website about the ACP or MVP, although she has expressed concerns about these pipelines elsewhere. She signed the Activate Virginia pledge not to take money from Dominion Energy or Appalachian Power.
Andres Felipe Jimenez Says he is a “tireless advocate for the environment,” with a “sense of urgency that we must work together to ensure that our families and future generations can enjoy the natural beauty that Virginia has to offer.” Adds that, “Between my work at Ocean Conservancy and Citizen’s Climate Lobby, I have made environmental protection one of my greatest priorities and will continue to do so as your Delegate.” Says he “will champion policies to ensure our drinking water quality regulations are robust, our solid waste planning modernized, and our water supply stable…work to preserve our forests, which are vital to the quality of the air we breathe…advocate for increased investment in clean, renewable sources of energy.” Says that one of his “top priorities will be to empower Virginians to conserve energy…through tax incentives to encourage investment in cleaner sources of energy like wind and solar, and public-private partnerships to retrofit existing buildings making them more energy efficient.” I don’t see anything specifically on his website about the ACP or MVP. Has taken the No Fossil Fuel Money pledge.

House District 49 (Arlington and Fairfax Counties; 82% Northam district)
Del. Alfonso Lopez – Points out that he “founded and serves as the co-chair of the Virginia Environment and Renewable Energy Caucus in the General Assembly,” has “passed a bill extending the Virginia Green Jobs Tax Credit, which encourages the growth of renewable energy industries across Virginia” and “expanded the limit on non-residential solar net-metering projects in Virginia to incentive more solar projects throughout the Commonwealth.” Supports “a mandatory renewable portfolio standard (RPS) of at least 35% by 2025”; “join[ing] the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative”; requiring “investor-owned electric utilities…to reduce electricity use by at least 25% of 2006 consumption levels by 2025”; mandating “that all new State, Local, university, or school system buildings (larger than 5,000 square feet) be built to LEED silver or equivalent Green Globes standards”; “expand[ing] the use of public transit and alternate modes of transportation”; etc. I don’t see anything on his website specifically about the ACP or MVP, but has expressed concerns about both pipelines previously. Has stated that he refuses Dominion Energy money.
J.D. Spain – Says he is an “advocate for solar and wind energy to reduce the cost of electricity.” I don’t see anything on his website specifically about the ACP or MVP. Signed the Activate Virginia pledge not to take money from Dominion Energy or Appalachian Power. Endorsed the Green New Deal Virginia.

House District 50 (Prince William County, Manassas City; 58% Northam district)
Del. Lee CarterSays that “if we are going to protect our world for generations to come, we need to act now on green energy projects and rethink transportation.” Supports “expanding the Virginia Railway Express to limit congestion and put less cars on the road, and expanding our investment in the Green Energy Economy.” I don’t see anything on his website specifically about the ACP or MVP, but has previously expressed concerns about both (note: Carter tweeted, “For clarity, I’ve done more than just express concern about MVP and ACP. I’m opposed to their construction entirely. Anything less than outright opposition is a form of climate denial.”) Signed the Activate Virginia pledge not to take money from Dominion Energy or Appalachian Power. Endorsed the Green New Deal Virginia.
Mark WolfeSays “Climate Change is real and it represents a clear and present danger to our planet and our society,” that “Virginia can lead the way and Virginians can profit from the new technologies and jobs that will be created by this effort.” Pledges that his “first legislation as Delegate will call on Virginia to join other like-minded states in an inter-state compact modeled on the appropriate California rules,” and believes in “creating win/win scenarios for our power companies to accelerate the move to 100% renewable generation.” I don’t see anything on his website specifically about the ACP or MVP. Listed as “unknown” regarding the Activate Virginia pledge not to take money from Dominion Energy or Appalachian Power.

House District 52 (Prince William County; 76% Northam district)
Del. Luke TorianI don’t see an issues page on his website or any information on his positions regarding energy or the environment. Accepts money from Dominion Energy.
Kevin Wade – Don’t see a website for him. Signed the Activate Virginia pledge not to take money from Dominion Energy or Appalachian Power.

House District 57 (Charlottesville City, Albemarle County; 79% Northam district)
Sally Hudson “Writes that “Our climate crisis is already here,” that “Charlottesville is a hub for innovative energy firms, and we should be leading the way to a clean energy future,” and that “It’s time to retire outdated fossil fuel infrastructure and say no to fracked gas pipelines.” Signed the Activate Virginia pledge not to take money from Dominion Energy or Appalachian Power.
Kathy Galvin –  In a section called “A Sustainable Future,” says “We need to support initiatives that allow individuals to take advantage of wind and solar energy in their homes”; “We need to end our dependence on utility companies for our energy by giving consumers the ability to create their own power and decentralize the grid”; “Communities need the tools and resources to build renewable cities and counties, work with legislators and state level authorities and departments like the Virginia Housing Development Authority (VHDA), Department of Transportation (VDOT), Department of Rail and Passenger Transportation (DRPT) and the Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) to make affordable housing more green; streets more walk-able and bike-able and safe for motorists; buses and trains more frequent; and rivers more clean.” I don’t see anything on her website specifically about the ACP or MVP. Signed the Activate Virginia pledge not to take money from Dominion Energy or Appalachian Power.

House District 62 (Chesterfield, Henrico, Prince George County and Hopewell City; 49% Gillespie/Northam district)
Tavorise MarksWrites: “In June 2017, President Trump removed the United States out of the Paris Climate Accord, it’s now more important than ever for the Commonwealth of Virginia to be the leader on fighting climate change. In the United States, everything about climate change is politically divisive. There appears to be little common ground on what causes it, what to do about it or even, in the case of some Republicans, whether the problem exists at all. We must enact legislation to protect our environment, oceans, bays, rivers and springs. From the James, to the Chesapeake to the Atlantic Ocean. It is our duty in the Commonwealth to ensure our future generations can enjoy clean air, water, and are protected against sea level rise.” I don’t see anything on his website specifically about the ACP or MVP. Signed the Activate Virginia pledge not to take money from Dominion Energy or Appalachian Power.
Lindsey DoughertyDon’t see anything on her website about energy or the environment, including the ACP or MVP. Signed the Activate Virginia pledge not to take money from Dominion Energy or Appalachian Power.

House District 87 (Loudoun, Prince William Counties; 64% Northam district)
Suhas SubramanyamDon’t see an issues section on his website, but he does write that he supported a bill this past session to “[place] a moratorium on all new fossil fuel capacity construction until renewable energy generation facilities with a capacity of at least 5,500 megawatts are in operation.” I don’t see anything on his website specifically about the ACP or MVP. Signed the Activate Virginia pledge not to take money from Dominion Energy or Appalachian Power. [UPDATE: After I posted this article, Subramanyam added an issues section. He writes: “I, along with other concerned citizens in Loudoun County, started Zero Carbon Virginia, an organization of concerned citizens devoted to bringing Virginia’s energy industry into the 21st century. We introduced the Renewables First Act (HB 1686), a bill that places a moratorium on all new fossil fuel capacity construction until renewable energy generation facilities with a capacity of at least 5,500 megawatts are in operation. Unfortunately, it, like other clean energy legislation, was rejected immediately by the House of Delegates. We must reduce our reliance on fossil fuels and move to more sustainable energy sources to mitigate the economic, environmental and social costs of fossil fuels. We can do so while creating high quality green jobs that protect and retrain workers. I will support legislation like the Renewables First Act or Renewable Portfolio Standards that help us take bold steps towards making Virginia a leader in clean energy.”]
Hassan AhmadSays “We need to fully fund conservation programs that protect our land from harmful development and our and rivers from pollutants such as coal ash, as well as stronger regulatory mechanisms to protect our environment overall.” Adds that “climate change represents a grave threat to the safety and security of the people of Virginia”; that Virginia “must invest in green energy, especially by using incentives to encourage distributed solar, and create a state fund to help local communities become more energy efficient”; and that “Environmental hazards disproportionally affect marginalized communities,” so “the General Assembly can and should fix regulations to make clean, renewable energy – especially solar power – an absolute guarantee, not just an option, to ensure that all Virginians are able to live in the same clean, beautiful Commonwealth.” I don’t see anything on his website specifically about the ACP or MVP. Listed as “unknown” on the Activate Virginia pledge not to take money from Dominion Energy or Appalachian Power.
Akshay BhamidipatiI don’t see a detailed issues section, but he does say he favors “Reduc[ing] Virginia’s Carbon Footprint.” I don’t see anything on his website specifically about the ACP or MVP. Signed the Activate Virginia pledge not to take money from Dominion Energy or Appalachian Power.
Johanna GusmanSays she supports “environmental justice and taking the stance that climate change is man-made, threatening our planet and needs to be hard fought with progressive policy.” I don’t see anything on her website specifically about the ACP or MVP.  On her environmental justice page, she writes, “That is why I do not support the Mountain Valley Pipeline” and “Virginia is for Lovers, NOT for Pipelines ♥️ #NoMVP.” Signed the Activate Virginia pledge not to take money from Dominion Energy or Appalachian Power.

House District 88 (Spotsylvania, Stafford, Fauquier Counties and Fredericksburg City; 54% Ed Gillespie district; Republican incumbent Mark Cole)
Jess FosterSays “none of the above even matters if we continue to destroy the planet,” that “We must progress toward clean, green energy and move away from this dependence we have on fossil fuels,” that “We cannot have clean air and clean water if we continue to pollute,” and that “the pollution we create is given back to us in the form of natural disasters.” I don’t see anything on her website specifically about the ACP or MVP. Signed the Activate Virginia pledge not to take money from Dominion Energy or Appalachian Power.
Kecia S. Evans Don’t see anything on her website about energy or the environment, including the ACP or MVP. Listed as “unknown” on the Activate Virginia pledge  not to take money from Dominion Energy or Appalachian Power.

House District 91 (Hampton City, York County, Poquoson City; 51% Ed Gillespie district)
Michael Wade Lists as a top priority, “Bring the Green New Deal to Virginia.” Adds, “We are the first generation to feel the sting of climate change, and the last generation that can do something about it:” I don’t see anything on his website specifically about the ACP or MVP. Signed the Activate Virginia pledge not to take money from Dominion Energy or Appalachian Power. Endorsed the Green New Deal Virginia.
Martha MuglerDon’t see a website yet, so no idea what her positions are on energy/environment. Listed as “unknown” on the Activate Virginia pledge not to take money from Dominion Energy or Appalachian Power.

House District 96 (James City County, York County; 53% Gillespie district)
Rebecca LeserSays she “Supports the move to 100% clean, renewable energy”; “Supports the proper clean-up process for York County’s coal ash sites and the minimization of environmental impacts to our waterways”; “Opposes the gas pipelines that are to be built through Virginia”; “Opposes offshore drilling”; “Supports the protection of the Chesapeake Bay.” Signed the Activate Virginia pledge not to take money from Dominion Energy or Appalachian Power. Endorsed the Green New Deal Virginia.
Mark DowneySays “We need to take action to lessen the impact of climate change”; that “the effects of sea level rise…[are] undeniable”; that the “York River is an important asset for the 96th district and we need to ensure that we treasure it as a natural resource”; that “We must champion policies to create new, sustainable, clean energy jobs and grow our economy” and that “As a person of science, I will apply evidence-based principles and methods to my evaluation of environmental policy and regulation and insist that our government agencies do the same.” I don’t see anything on his website specifically about the ACP or MVP. Listed as “unknown” on the Activate Virginia pledge not to take money from Dominion Energy or Appalachian Power.
Chris MayfieldDon’t see anything on his website about energy or the environment, including the ACP or MVP. Signed the Activate Virginia pledge not to take money from Dominion Energy or Appalachian Power.