The Sierra Club York River Group honored local political candidates from the recent Virginia state elections who were endorsed by the Sierra Club. The celebration was held on November 20, 2019 at Sandy Bottom Park in Hampton. The Virginia Senate candidates were: Monty Mason, Mamie Locke, and Herb Jones. House candidates were: Shelly Simonds, Martha Mugler, Mike Mullin, Jeion Ward, Cia Price, and Mark Downey. With the exception of Herb Jones and Mark Downey, who ran excellent campaigns, all won election or reelection.
We greatly appreciate all the candidates, who stand with the Sierra Club for a healthy environment!
During the meeting, several people also spoke about environmental issues of local interest. We heard about efforts of several environmental justice groups, including Virginia Organizing, which has a chapter in Newport News/Hampton. Among other things, they are striving to improve local public transportation. Another group, Southeast CARE Coalition, is working to improve air quality in downtown Newport News. The attendees got an update on the Riverview Farm Park; HRSD is currently seeking more land from the City Farm. We also heard from the Offshore Energy Program director about the urgency to take advantage of offshore wind opportunities, which can provide both clean energy and many jobs.
Finally, Glen Besa of the Virginia Sierra Club discussed current and future legislation in Virginia. With the recent state elections, we now have an opportunity to push forward many environmental initiatives in our state. A few examples: Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, Solar Freedom Bill, 100% Clean Energy Bill, and more funding for natural resources. It is also important to support campaign finance reform and redistricting reform, because “when democracy suffers, the environment suffers.”