Pledge to Refuse Dominion & Appalachian Power Contributions

 
 
 

Background

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. 


The Pledge

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.


Signatories

 

Incumbent Democratic Delegates:

HD 11: Sam Rasoul

2017 General Election Winners:

HD 2: Jennifer Foy HD 10: Wendy Gooditis HD 13: Danica Roem HD 21: Kelly Fowler HD 31: Elizabeth Guzman

HD 42: Kathy Tran HD 50: Lee Carter HD 51: Hala Ayala HD 68: Dawn Adams

HD 72: Schuyler VanValkenburg HD 73: Debra Rodman HD 85: Cheryl Turpin

Unsuccessful in 2017 General Election Bids: 

HD 1: Alicia Kallen HD 3: Bill Bunch HD 7: Flo Ketner HD 8: Steve McBride HD 9: Stephanie Cook

HD 17: Djuna Osborne HD 18: Will King (Green) HD 20: Michele Edwards HD 23: Natalie Short

HD 25: Angela Lynn HD 26: Brent Finnegan HD 27: Larry Barnett HD 28: Joshua Cole HD 29: Casey Turben

HD 30: Ben Hixon HD 33: Tia Walbridge HD 55: Morgan Goodman HD 56: Melissa Dart HD 58: Kellen Squire

HD 59: Tracy Carver HD 59: Marcus Sutphin (Green) HD 60: Jamaal Johnston HD 62: Sheila Bynum-Coleman

HD 64: Rebecca Colaw HD 65: Francis Stevens HD 66: Katie Ann Sponsler HD 69: Montigue Magruder (Green) 

HD 81: Kimberly Tucker HD 74: Preston Brown (Independent) HD 77: Jeff Staples (Green) 

HD 82: Leigh Anne Bowling HD 83: David Rose-Carmack HD 84: Veronica Coleman HD 88: Steve Aycock

HD 88: Gerald Anderson (Green) HD 91: Michael Wade HD 96: Kelly DeLucia HD 97: Cori Johnson

HD 98: Sheila Crowley

Unsuccessful in June Bids for Democratic Nomination:

LG: Susan Platt LG: Gene Rossi HD 2: Josh King HD 13: Steven Jansen HD 13: Mansimran Kahlon

HD 21: Tom Brock HD 73: Sarah Smith HD 73: Chelsea Savage HD 51: Ken Boddye HD 73: Bill Coleman

HD 26: Cathy Copeland HD 30: Annette Hyde HD 62: Tavorise Marks HD 84: Erin Edlow HD 57: Ross Mittiga

HD 42: Tilly Blanding HD 67: John Carey HD 67: Hannah Risheq HD 33: Mavis Taintor 56: Lizzie Drucker-Basch

HD 64: John Wandling HD 64: Jerry Cantrell HD 70: Alex Mejias HD 81: Nancy Carothers HD 92: Mic Harris


Pledge in the Press

11.15.17, Augusta Free Press

"On pipelines, will Terry McAuliffe side with Virginia, or with Donald Trump?"

Jonathan Sokolow

11.12.17, Huffington Post

"McAuliffe’s Folly: The Atlantic “Trump” Pipeline"

Jonathan Sokolow

11.11.17, Associated Press

"Trump opposition inspires Dem focus on statehouse wins"

Alan Suderman

11.10.17, Climate Investigations Center

"Will Virginia Governor-elect Ralph Northam accept Dominion money for inaugural committee?"

Charlie Spatz

11.9.17, Richmond Times-Dispatch

"Thirteen candidates who refused Dominion money win seats in General Assembly"

Robert Zullo

11.8.17, Huffington Post

"How Democrats Won Big In The Virginia House — And Why It Matters"

Daniel Marans

11.8.17, The Washington Post

"Is it finally blue? Democrats speed Virginia’s transformation — thanks to Trump"

Gregory Schneider

11.8.17, Blue Virginia

"Thirteen “Dominion $ Deniers” to Serve in the State Legislature, Countering Climate Deniers"

Will Driscoll

11.8.17, Energy and Policy Institute

"The other big loser in Virginia’s elections was Dominion Energy"

David Pomerantz

11.3.17, The American Prospect

"Between Pragmatism and Purity: Virginia Democrats Try to Come Together"

Manuel Madrid

10.13.17, Richmond Times-Dispatch

"Dominion executives bundle donations to Virginia lawmakers' campaign accounts"

Patrick Wilson, Graham Moomaw

10.13.17, Richmond Times-Dispatch

"Is Dominion's grip on political power at a crossroads?"

Robert Zullo

7.28.17, Virginia Business

"Pipeline battle"

Paula C. Squires

7.15.17, The News-Virginian

Monkey puzzles and lawmakers: make 'em take the pledge!

Stephen Nash

7.8.17, Richmond Times-Dispatch

"House Republicans going their own way"

Jeff Schapiro

7.2.17, The News & Advance

"Lobbyists, Donors and Returns on Investments"

Stephen Nash

6.26.17, Rolling Stone

"How to Tell If Your Reps Are Serious About Climate Change"

Bill McKibben

6.22.17, The American Prospect

"Virginia's Power Broker"

Manuel Madrid

6.8.17, WhoWhatWhy

"Dominion Energy Pulls Out All Stops For Pipeline Win: Will populism trump power politics?"

Celia Wexler

6.4.17, The Daily Progress

"The Pledge: A money puzzle's missing pieces"

Stephen Nash

6.3.17, Suffolk News Herald

"Make lawmakers take the pledge" 

Stephen Nash

6.1.17, News Leader

"Monkey puzzles and lawmakers: make 'em take the pledge"

Stephen Nash

5.24.17, The Washington Post

"Democrats running for Va. lieutenant governor vow not to take Dominion money"

Fenit Nirappil

5.23.17, CBS 19, Charlottesville [Video]

"Dozens of candidates reject campaign contributions from energy companies"

Bria White

5.21.17, Richmond Times-Dispatch

"Three Democrats inspired by Trump's election vying to challenge Loupassi"

Michael O'Connor

5.20.17, Blue Virginia

"Dirty Dominion Pushes Fracked Gas and Super-Expensive Nuclear While Offshore Wind Costs Plummet. Brilliant!"

Lowell Feld

5.19.17, The Washington Post

"A once all-powerful corporation is suddenly politically toxic in Virginia"

Mike Tidwell & LaDelle McWhorter

5.18.17, Richmond Times-Dispatch

"Under pressure for Dominion donations, Northam calls for sweeping campaign finance reform in Virginia"

Graham Moomaw

5.18.17, Daily Press

"State senator wants to ban Dominion Energy campaign contributions"

Travis Fain

5.11.17, Richmond Times-Dispatch

"Perriello sold financial stake in company linked to pipeline and Trump's border wall"

Graham Moomaw

5.10.17, Bristol Herald Courier

"Tell your lawmakers to take the pledge: No more corporate cash"

Stephen Nash

5.8.17, The Roanoke Times

"Make 'em take the pledge: no more snuff boxes!"

Stephen Nash

5.3.17, The Washington Post

"Virginia power broker in the hot seat in governor's race"

Gregory Schneider

4.25.17, Style Weekly

"Former Virginia AGs Argue That Regulators Should Be Allowed to Approve Utility Rates"

Jackie Kruszewski

4.24.17, Associated Press

"Va. Supreme Court case could cut electric bills"

Alan Suderman

4.22.17, The Washington Post

"‘Dark money’ vs. corporate cash: Virginia Democratic rivals clash over funding"

Gregory Schneider

4.18.17, Richmond Times-Dispatch

"More than 50 Democrats running for Virginia House pledge to refuse Dominion money"

Graham Moomaw