Okay, Virginia! Time to take a really, really quick look before your primaries to see who’s who is the sustainable game! To learn more about Sustainable Politician Project, read our full intro here.
Voting in Virginia
First off, you have an open primary, which means you don’t need a party affiliation to vote, you just need to be registered and show up. Candidates win by a plurality vote, which means that even if a candidate does not receive a majority but still receives more votes than the other candidates, they get the nomination.
- Incumbent since 2012
- Chair, Democratic National Committee, 2009-2011
- Governor, Commonwealth of Virginia, 2005-2010
- Lieutenant Governor, Commonwealth of Virginia, 2001-2005
- Mayor, City of Richmond, 1998-2001
Tim Kaine is our selection for Senator this year. He’s done a few cool things that we think make him stick out a little more than his opponents. He’s put ample time and worked to allot resources to the Chesapeake Bay Foundation, (a service project) that is focused on rebuilding oyster habitats and reef restoration. With the oyster reef restoration projects, the environment all throughout the Chesapeake Bay area benefits from these protections and environmental regulations. Kaine has also worked with local and federal authorities to combat the rising sea levels that are caused, in part, by global warming. He wants to capitalize on the threat of the rising tides and build clean energy infrastructures that are resilient to the water levels. This is some smart thinking, since then we will have cleaner air and a better energy infrastructure to work with when the water does reach an unsustainable level.
Here’s our favorite quote by him:
“I’ve never accepted the idea that we must choose between growing the economy and protecting the environment. I’ve seen firsthand how strong environmental policies helped us clean up the James River in my hometown of Richmond, improving both our economy and quality of life. Cleaning up the Chesapeake Bay improved the Bay’s health and bolstered its tourism and fisheries economy….A healthy environment is good for businesses and workers and strong economic growth allows for investments that will help improve the environment. In the Senate, I will continue my efforts to protect our air, water and land resources, and will resist efforts to weaken environmental standards that are critical to public health.”
He has also said some words about how important it is for the rural areas of Virginia to be on the same page energy-wise as the rest of urban Virginia when it comes to green technology. Kaine wants to invest in programs that will teach people to install, use, and otherwise work in, the sustainable energy economy. This includes the Commonwealth’s traditional coal communities. He’s supported legislation to clean up the coal industry and funding to keep these people in jobs when coal mining has been exhausted.
Other Senator Candidates:
- Nick Freitas (R)
- E.W. Jackson Sr. (R)
- Corey Stewart (R)
- Matt Waters (Libertarian)
- Joshua Yabut (Independent)
U.S. House of Representatives
Find your district here.
Okay, district 1! You’ve got a lot of good candidates to choose from. All four of your candidates have something positive to say about green energy and the environment, so we’re going to give you a little background on your incumbent and tell you more about who our pick is.
Our pick: Edwin Santana Jr.
- Project Manager & USMC Veteran
What we like a lot about Santana is that he has a strong stance on two things: mitigating the effects of climate change in the environment and moving away from fossil fuels while simultaneously training people for jobs in the renewable energy sector.
Santana does not support investing in any more infrastructure for fossil fuel production or transportation, as the risk to groundwater contamination is too great. He wants an outright ban on fracking and to set up a system to change coal jobs to green energy jobs. All of this stems from his concern for clean air and water. He would like to see more of Congress standing up to budget cuts against environmental protections and instead, introduce legislation that will increase protection for the environment.
Here’s our favorite quote by him about investing in renewable energy sources:
“Clean energy is extremely beneficial to our environment– by investing in alternative power sources such as wind and solar, America can cut down on air pollution emissions and reduce the risks that coincide with burning coal, oil, and natural gas. A switch to alternative energy would also allow for our country to reduce its dependency on foreign oil, in turn increasing geopolitical stability, substantially reduce the rate of climate change, and improve national defense through self-sustainability.”
Other District 1 Candidates:
- Rob Wittman (R) – (Campaign Site) – Incumbent – Honorable mention! Whitman is fighting to make sure that the Chesapeake Bay Clean-Up is taking place effectively and with transparency. He’s been working to include funding for that budget into the 2018 fiscal year in Congress. He’s a supporting of reauthorizing the North American Wetlands Conservation Act, which has helped maintain wetlands all across the US and has created about 7.5k new jobs annually. He has pushed for the Water Resources Research Amendments Act, which is an act that will bind federal and state partnerships in helping with local and regional water issues, including drought and pollution. It’s more specifically addressed at keeping water sources clean. Overall, Whitman has done a solid job on the environmental front.
- John Suddarth (D)
- Vangie Williams (D)
District 2, you have two good candidates that we’re endorsing! Let’s take a look:
Karen is a HUGE supporter of keeping the Chesapeake Bay cleanup fund active. Since the fund has had an enormous impact on the local economy and environment, it’s imperative that the fund continues to be active. She calls out the EPA rollbacks that have been counterproductive to environmental regulations and protection and would like to see the EPA strengthened so that meaningful legislation can be enacted.
Karen also believes that the climate change is one of the biggest threats to our planet’s future and our future. She absolutely does not want to the Atlantic Coast Pipeline to be built, and instead would like to see those funds funneled into green energy jobs. She is also a big opposer of fracking and offshore drilling. She wants to look for long-term solutions to climate change and our energy needs that will serve our nation for generations.
- Community Activist
Shaun Brown has hope that climate change will be stopped and that we can bring our planet back to a place that is healthy and green. She knows that the dependence that we have on foreign fossil fuels is a security threat and should be addressed by encouraging and funding green energy initiatives. She wants the U.S. to be on the forefront of the battle to reduce pollution and move from fossil fuels and coal to green and sustainable energy. Since flooding has been a huge issue in District 2, she would like to see funds allocated to working with the current water infrastructure. Brown knows that it’s imperative to get back into the Paris Agreement and to encourage competition in the green energy sector through subsidies for biofuel, solar, wind, and hydro energy. She roundly opposes fracking and offshore drilling and would like to see legislation that promotes green public transportation.
Other District 2 Candidates:
Well, District 3, you only have one candidate, so here’s what he has to say about green energy:
- Incumbent since 1992
- Senator, Virginia State Senate, 1983-1993
- Member, Congressional Renewable Energy, and Energy Efficiency Caucus
Scott has received high marks from the Sierra Club, the League of Conservation Voters, and the National Parks Conservation Association for his work that he’s done in preserving the environment. He has opposed requests for offshore drilling in the Chesapeake Bay and gas development. He has co-sponsored different pieces of legislation to promote investment in renewable energy sources and has also co-sponsored bills targeting a hard increase in energy efficiency. He supports federal regulation of greenhouse gas emissions, and subsidies for renewable energy sources, not the fossil fuel industry. That pretty much covers the basics for Bobby Scott.
- Incumbent since 2016
- Senator, Commonwealth of Virginia Senate, District 9, 2008-2016
- Delegate, Commonwealth of Virginia House of Delegates, District 74, 1996-2002, 2006-2008
- Natural Resources, Member
- Subcommittee on Federal Lands, Member
- Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations (Natural Resources), Ranking Member
McEachin has been a strong supporter of making the EPA great again, and it’s one of the things that we really like about him. When Pruitt wanted to consolidate the National Center for Environmental Research with other offices (which would have effectively swept it under the rug) McEachin introduced legislation that would restrict that consolidation. This is a pretty big deal, since NCER is the main researcher for improving public health, and focuses particularly on kids. NCER focuses on research on the environmental impacts of pollution and other changes on kids. It definitely helps with producing productive legislation to protect kids against water contaminants, air pollution, climate change, and also looks to protect vulnerable ecosystems.
McEachin also introduced the Pollution Transparency Act, which requires agencies to use scientific and consistent metrics to measure the pollution they create and the impact their greenhouse gas emissions have on the environment. He is also planning to introduce during the Defend Our Coast Act which would prohibit the department of the interior to allow exploration and/or the production of fossil fuel and gas on the Outer Continental Shelf in the Mid-Atlantic, which affects North Carolina, Virginia, Maryland, and Delaware. This is a good idea for a few reasons, mainly because it reduces the potential negative effects on the environment, and wouldn’t hamper military readiness activities. This is why we like McEachin, he has a history of introducing and supporting environmentally-strict legislation.
Other District 5 Candidates:
Ok 6, we have two great candidates we suggest you look into and one honorable mention!
Our first pick:
- Mental Health Worker & Environmental Activist
Jennifer Lewis is an environmental activist, and she knows her stuff. She’s has already signed a few pledges pertaining to renewable energy, including Activate Virginia’s pledge to refuse contributions from local power supply companies and the No Fossil Fuel Money pledge, which applies more broadly to the entire industry. Needless to say, she’s dedicated.
Lewis has shown support for the 100 by ’50 act, which strives to make America completely run on clean energy by 2050. But what we really like about Lewis is here unique perspective and initiatives on agribusiness.
As a former farmer, Lewis understands the unique problem facing a lot of small farms: they can’t compete with huge farms and regional monopolization has led to a decrease in the sustainability of small farms and an increase of greenhouse gas production from huge agribusinesses. Lewis would like to see antitrust enforcement in the agriculture business. Her interesting take on reducing greenhouse gas emissions through agribusiness by continuing to support local farms makes her stand out among other candidates.
Our other pick:
- Community Planning Consultant
Volosin has some strong opinions about keeping pipelines out of Virginia, and we have to agree with him. He knows that these pipelines pose a threat to the environment and to the renewable energy industry, and he’s not budging when it comes to making sure these new constructions are never built. He focuses on eco-tourism and how the beauty of the state of Virginia and the Appalachians will draw people for camping and hiking expeditions. He’s using his background as a community developer to bring new plans to prepare communities for the inevitable extreme weather that now poses a threat to Virginia.
Volosin would like to see a carbon tax implemented, and have the tax revenue go towards road and infrastructure repair. The carbon tax would regulate cars and other motor vehicles that produce large amounts of greenhouse gasses. Reducing carbon would improve the air quality in District 6 and keep citizens healthier. He plans on growing the local economy by bringing green energy jobs into the district, which will improve the infrastructure and the environment with the transition from fossil fuels to green energy initiatives.
Other District 6 Candidates:
Sergio Coppola (D) – Honorable mention! Sergio is our honorable mention for a few reasons: He wants to impose a carbon tax to weed out weak competition and make sustainable energy more readily available to the masses, research new methods of cleaner energy, and preserve the natural habitats in Virginia. He wants to create a nationwide focus on clean, independent energy sources and use government funding to achieve clean energy that works for America. Sergio also wants to see the EPA flourish be held more accountable for protecting our natural resources, like water, air, forests, farmland, and wildlife.
While we wish your district’s candidates had more developed sustainable energy platforms, you still have a solid choice for someone committed to fighting for the environment:
Spanberger has the most developed pro-green energy platform of the candidates running in District 7. She wants to protect the land and rivers that make Virginia so pretty, and she plans on supporting legislation in Congress that will allow them to flourish. She wants to see renewable energy outsource the fossil fuel industry, and help decrease the amount of pollution in the air and water. She knows that renewable energy has a huge potential economy, and would like to see the benefit of that opportunity make District 7 flourish. She promises to stand against attacks on science in Congress, and press forward with legislation that will keep the environment cleaner and our energy more sustainable.
Other District 7 Candidates:
- Incumbent since 2014
- Lieutenant Governor, Commonwealth of Virginia, 1990-1998
- Natural Resources, Member
- Science, Space, and Technology, Member
- Subcommittee on Energy and Mineral Resources, Member
- Subcommittee on Oversight (Science, Space, and Technology), Ranking Member
- Subcommittee on Research and Technology, Member
- Subcommittee on Water, Power, and Oceans, Member
- Former Lieutenant Governor of Virginia, Commonwealth of Virginia
- Ambassador, Switzerland & Liechtenstein, United States Department of State, 2009-2013
Don Beyer wants to put a tax on carbon pollution. The tax would include investments in clean energy and promote energy efficiency, but Beyer also wants to protect low-income households and make affordable, clean energy available for them as well. Beyer knows that reducing carbon pollution, managing climate change, and investing in renewable energy is the biggest issue of our time, and he has been putting the effort in to make sure that Congress takes note.
Beyer is the exceptional Representative who is leading the investigation against Scott Pruitt, and has high hopes to bring the EPA full circle into an organization that focuses on the environment and protecting our resources. He has also lead the charge to squash the administrations attempts at using emergency funds to bail out the coal industry and has instead insisted that the money is put to a better use. Since many coal power plants have scheduled closing dates due to a lack of usage of coal, the current administration is trying to bail out these power plants instead of investing in cleaner technologies and training the employees of the closing plants in new and renewable energy sources. Beyer is strongly opposed to bailing out the coal industry. Overall, Beyer has been a prominent and leading force in the fight against clime change and promoting renewable energy, and we are exceptionally pleased with his progress and courage on the matters in Congress.
Other District 8 Candidates:
District 9, we have just the sustainable candidate for you!
Our pick: Anthony Flaccavento
- Economic Development Consultant
Anthony knows what it’s like to live in a rural area. And just like people living in rural areas, he knows just how important the environment is for life in these areas. He has seen first hand how farmers and loggers and other industries dependent on the environment have developed sustainable business practices while simultaneously protected the environment and been good stewards of the land they rely on. He knows that this isn’t something that’s unique to Virginia, and he wants to see practices like this in every area of rural America.
Anthony supports the RECLAIM act, which restores degraded mine land and coalfields. He’s also a supporting of promoting local farms, development of renewable technologies, and introducing sustainable water conservation practices. He has promised to fight against any new pipeline construction in Congress and instead would like to see that money go towards regulations for carbon emissions, greenhouse gases, and protecting the environment.
Overall, Anthony is all about sustainable farming practices, and we like what he has to say about them. He has pledged to support the land of farmers and promote local farming businesses, while additionally keeping sustainable practices in mind. An all-around sustainable candidate.
Other District 9 Candidates:
District 10, you did a great job in picking your state senator, so we’re endorsing her as our pick for your district!
Our pick: Jennifer Wexton
- Senator, Commonwealth of Virginia Senate, District 33, 2014-present
- Minority Whip, Commonwealth of Virginia Senate, present
- Izaac Walton League Award, Department of Game and Inland Fisheries 2005
Jennifer has come to our attention as an awesome candidate for District 10’s green energy enthusiasts. As a member of the state Senate, she advocated for renewable energy and protections for our environment. We particularly like that she sponsored legislation to give consumer’s more access to community solar energy. Other legislation included mandating quicker reporting times for hazardous waterway spills, stricter consequences for major polluters, and to completely stop the construction of natural gas pipelines that adversely affect the environment and local economy.
As a member of the general assembly, she received a 100% rating and a lot of awards from environmental groups, which include the Sierra Club Virginia, and received a Legislative Hero award from the Virginia League of Conservation Voters. (Cool!) She’s a supporter of government funding for research on renewable energy, which we think is a must.
Overall, Jennifer is a great pick for renewable energy in District 10. She has shown a dedication to protecting the environment and implementing and using renewable energy sources, and we would like to see her expand these ideas in the House of Representatives.
Other District 10 Candidates:
- Barbara Comstock (R) – (Campaign Site) – incumbent
- Shak Hill (R)
- Julia Biggins (D)
- Alison Friedman (D)
- Dan Helmer (D)
- Paul Pelletier (D)
- Lindsey Davis Stover (D)
- Nathan Larson (I) – Felon, White Supremacist, Pedophile
11, boy do you have an awesome incumbent! Keep up the good work!
- Incumbent since 2008
- Co-Chair, Sustainable Energy, and Environment Caucus
Gerry Connolly is our hands down pick for District 11. He’s the co-chair of the Sustainable Energy and Environment Caucus and has led quite a few campaigns to protect the environment and make public health and issue related to clean and renewable energy resources. (YAY!) He’s recently led the Congressional opposition to defunding the Chesapeake Bay Restoration Fund. He has steadfastly voted in favor of funding and passing acts that have to do with clean air, water, power, and the Antiquities Act. He’s been a huge supporter of the Paris Agreement and has been urging the current administration to rejoin the talks constantly.
Connolly has also strongly opposed offshore drilling and fracking in Virginia. He knows that the risk and negative environmental impact is to great a cost for the security of planet as a whole. He’s been one of the leaders in expanding federal conservation efforts and continued funding for our national parks. He’s currently working on installing huge tax incentives to complete America’s 11 National Scenic Trails. He helped design and implement District 11’s first environmental plans which won a National award (WOW!) His official nickname is “Protector of the Potomac.” We think you can see now why we endorse Gerry Connolly.