This is a Moms Clean Air Force exclusive interview with Virginia’s State Senator Barbara Favola:
What is unique about protecting Virginia’s resources?
According to Virginia’s Department of Conservation and Recreation, about 20% of all Virginia jobs are agriculture jobs. Therefore, we must be concerned about maintaining clean ground water and regulating the use of pesticides. Moreover, Virginia’s parks and other environmental assets are treasures that attract tourism and business. This means that our natural resources are inextricably tied to Virginia’s economy. Being good stewards of the environment is healthy for Virginians and in the economic interest of the Commonwealth. It is also the right thing to do for future generations.
As a parent are you worried about the effects of climate change on your children and the children of Virginia?
As a parent, I am extremely concerned about the effects of climate change on future generations. (Tweet this) Rising temperatures and extreme weather have started to wreak havoc on our biosphere, which in turn will have a harmful impact on drinkable water. Moreover, I am very concerned about rising sea-levels and understand that Virginia needs to devote the necessary resources to combat climate change and protect our natural assets in a timely fashion.
Why is a bipartisan effort so important and how can these efforts be achieved in our politically polarizing culture?
While my colleagues across the aisle and I may not agree on everything, I truly believe we can find some common ground on which we can make significant progress together with respect to protecting the environment. In fact, there was bi-partisan support in the 2017 session to better contain coal ash. There are also examples of bi-partisan support for cleaning-up the Chesapeake Bay and creating alternative energy sources. Both Democratic and Republican lawmakers want their communities to be clean, healthy and livable. We must build on these values. The cornerstones for compromise are in place, but we must work to find common ground on the approaches employed to achieve our stated environmental goals. Bi-partisan approaches are much more likely to survive the test of time.
Is there anything you’d like to share that is important for Moms Clean Air Force members to know?
As past chair of the Northern Virginia Regional Commission and past chair of the Council of Governments Chesapeake Bay Committee, I led the regional fight to clean up the Chesapeake Bay. Now as a State Senator, I served on Governor McAuliffe’s Climate Change & Resiliency Update Commission, working with environmental groups and industry leaders to identify best practices for the creation of clean energy jobs. I have been recognized by the Sierra Club and the Virginia League of Conservation Voters for my leadership on environmental issues.
Senator Barbara A. Favola represents Virginia’s 31st Senate district, which includes parts of Arlington and Fairfax counties, and a portion of Loudoun County. She served on the Arlington County Board for fourteen years (1997-2011) and chaired that body three times. During her service with the County, Senator Favola was the Board’s leading advocate for children, youth and families. Throughout her public life she has been a vigorous supporter of universal human rights. Senator Favola was given a 100% rating from the Virginia League of Conservation Voters for her efforts during the legislative session to support the environment. In April, she was honored with the Child Advocate Award from the Richmond United Methodist Family Services for her tireless efforts in advocating for children, particularly those impacted by foster care, mental health and juvenile justice. Senator Favola is the founder and CEO of Pathways to 21st Century Communities, a consulting firm specializing in government relations and community outreach. She and her husband Douglas Weik have been residents of Arlington and the 31st district since 1982.