Pledge to Refuse Dominion & Appalachian Power Contributions
This pledge originated as an attempt to address the corrupt campaign finance system in Virginia. We understand that legislative solutions can't be expected anytime soon - not with a legislature funded by corporate interests and dominated by Republicans. So instead of focusing on the law, we decided to focus on the culture.
We're inherently suspicious of pledges, and as pragmatists, we're uneasy with the rigidity they impose. But given the extraordinary grassroots recruitment effort this year in Virginia, we saw the value in building a coalition on the record. These candidates are not pledging to oppose Dominion or Appalachian Power or even to oppose the contentious pipelines. These candidates are, however, aware that many citizens don't believe politicians have been serving the interests of their constituents.
This pledge is an effort to avoid the appearance of undue influence via campaign contributions. It's based on the assumption that, if elected, all signatories will be willing to sit down with these entities to formulate policy that benefits their constituents. But these constituents will have a renewed trust in their representatives, a reason to believe that legislators are having clean conversations with corporations.
In 2017, we find ourselves slipping further into environmental catastrophe as a nation and a planet. In the wake of President Trump’s executive order that essentially dismantles the Obama administration’s climate change policy, we believe it’s our duty to take a principled stand. From the Shenandoah Valley to the Chesapeake Bay, we’ve seen the adverse environmental effects of a political system unduly influenced by the fossil fuel industry. And if there were ever a year for Virginians to resist - for everyday citizens running for office to speak out - that year is 2017.
We, the undersigned, believe all elected officials should be making decisions about the environment without monetary influence from the fossil fuel industry. For years, Appalachian Power and Dominion in particular have pumped cash into the coffers of politicians from both political parties in Virginia - and, of course, into the parties themselves. These interests are not driven by the protection of our environment or concerns about public health, but by the profit motive.
If we’re to be credible as candidates willing to fight to protect our environment, willing to stand up to corporate interests when they conflict with the interests of everyday Virginians, we must remove the appearance of influence through campaign donations. Especially in Virginia’s unrestricted campaign finance environment.
We therefore pledge never to accept campaign contributions from either Dominion or Appalachian Power. This small step towards a Democratic Party of Virginia free from Dominion and Appalachian influence is, we feel, the absolute least we can do. We hope our fellow Democratic politicians in Virginia will join us. Because it’s only together, as a unified progressive force, that we’ll be able to reinstate a government dedicated to preserving and protecting our beautiful - yet fragile - environment.
Democratic Candidates for Lieutenant Governor:
Susan Platt, Gene Rossi
Democrats In House of Delegates Districts Won By Clinton in 2016:
HD 2: Jennifer Foy HD 2: Josh King HD 10: Wendy Gooditis HD 13: Danica Roem HD 13: Steven Jansen
HD 13: Mansimran Kahlon HD 21: Kelly Fowler HD 21: Tom Brock HD 31: Elizabeth Guzman
HD 42: Tilly Blanding HD 42: Kathy Tran HD 50: Lee Carter HD 51: Ken Boddye HD 67: John Carey
HD 67: Hannah Risheq HD 68: Dawn Adams HD 72: Schuyler VanValkenburg HD 73: Sarah Smith
HD 73: Chelsea Savage HD 73: Bill Coleman HD 73: Debra Rodman
Democrats In Remaining House of Delegates Districts:
HD 7: Flo Ketner HD 8: Steve McBride HD 9: Stephanie Cook HD 17: Djuna Osborne HD 20: Michele Edwards
HD 23: Natalie Short HD 25: Angela Lynn HD 26: Brent Finnegan HD 26: Cathy Copeland HD 27: Larry Barnett
HD 28: Joshua Cole HD 30: Annette Hyde HD 30: Ben Hixon HD 33: Tia Walbridge HD 33: Mavis Taintor
HD 55: Morgan Goodman HD 56: Lizzie Drucker-Basch HD 56: Melissa Dart HD 57: Ross Mittiga
HD 58: Kellen Squire HD 60: Jamaal Johnston HD 62: Sheila Bynum-Coleman HD 62: Tavorise Marks
HD 64: John Wandling HD 64: Rebecca Colaw HD 64: Jerry Cantrell HD 66: Katie Ann Sponsler
HD 70: Alex Mejias HD 81: Kimberly Tucker HD 81: Nancy Carothers HD 82: Leigh Anne Bowling
HD 83: David Rose-Carmack HD 84: Erin Edlow HD 85: Cheryl Turpin HD 88: Steve Aycock HD 91: Michael Wade
HD 92: Mic Harris HD 96: Kelly DeLucia
Independents and Green Party Candidates:
HD 18: Will King (Green) HD 59: Marcus Sutphin (Green) HD 69: Montigue Magruder (Green)
HD 74: Preston Brown (Independent) HD 77: Jeff Staples (Green) HD 88: Gerald Anderson (Green)
HD 97: Cori Johnson (Independent)
Replacing The Money
The only argument we encountered against signing the pledge was that the Democratic Party of Virginia needs the money. Democrats need the money. Dominion and Appalachian give too much to Republicans - we need their cash to compete.
Our response is to go to the People: can we fund candidates in lieu of corporate contributors? And if we can do it on a small scale in Virginia, could the model be replicated elsewhere in the nation? We believe this approach can succeed, and we hope you'll support these candidates who've taken a historic stand.