Regional climate group’s first-ever endorsement in Virginia state elections comes in the lead-up to pivotal legislative session
RICHMOND, VA: Today, the Chesapeake Climate Action Network (CCAN) Action Fund endorsed Aaron Rouse for the special election for Senate District 7 in Virginia Beach on January 10. Rouse is a former NFL player and current Virginia Beach Councilmember who supports climate policies that increase resilience to flooding, reduce air pollution, and help transition the state to clean, renewable energy.
The election takes place the day prior to the convening of the Virginia General Assembly session on January 11. The winner will assume their seat for the traditionally 45-day session and have a critical vote on anticipated attempts to repeal key climate policies. The endorsement represents CCAN Action Fund’s first for the Virginia legislature as the state’s climate progress stands on a knife’s edge, under assault from the administration of Governor Glenn Youngkin and other opponents of progressive climate policies.
Statement from Victoria Higgins, Virginia Director for CCAN Action Fund:
“CCAN Action Fund is proud to endorse Aaron Rouse. After spending his early years training for and playing in the NFL, he returned to his community to serve in the Virginia Beach City Council. He is deeply dedicated to this district and has demonstrated a firm commitment to ensuring it is protected from current and future flooding in the face of a warming planet. With critical funding for flood resilience on the line under Governor Youngkin, Hampton Roads needs a representative who does not take orders from the Governor and will simply do what is right and needed to safeguard his community.”
Youngkin recently directed the State Air Pollution Control Board to leave the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI), a carbon market that Virginia participates in with 10 other Eastern states. RGGI provides hundreds of millions of dollars for flood resilience, funds critical for flood-prone Virginia Beach and Norfolk. The Governor’s controversial move is expected to face legal pushback, at which point the legislature would once again become the deciding arena for RGGI’s fate. The winner of the special election would cast a critical vote to protect – or leave – the program.
In a survey sent to candidates for the seat, Councilmember Rouse said:
“Lower income communities in Virginia Beach and Norfolk experience some of the worst flooding and other climate-related impacts. I believe we have many opportunities, and the responsibility, to address these issues so our communities can live safely in their neighborhoods. As a member of the Virginia Beach City Council, I was proud to have voted in favor of a bond referendum to allocate $567.5 million toward a Flood Protection Program. If elected as Senator for the 7th District of Virginia, I will represent one of the most vulnerable regions in the nation as it relates to climate change. I take this issue incredibly seriously and I intend to lead on it.”
Given the narrowly divided Senate, climate is but one of many issues in which Rouse could have a deciding vote. His vote could also protect the state from expected attacks on women’s reproductive rights and democracy.
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Chesapeake Climate Action Network (CCAN) Action Fund is dedicated to effecting change in public policy at local, state and national levels to directly address the threat of global warming. CCAN Action Fund is at the center of the fight for clean energy and wise climate policy in Maryland, Virginia, West Virginia, Washington, D.C. and beyond.
Paid for by Chesapeake Climate Action Network Action Fund. Authorized by Aaron Rouse, candidate for Senate.