The Mount Vernon Group of the Virginia Chapter of the Sierra Club has endorsed six candidates running for a seat on the Alexandria City Council in the November election: Democrats John Chapman, Tim Lovain, Del Pepper, Paul Smedberg, Justin Wilson and Republican Bob Wood.
The environmental advocacy group made its endorsements after reviewing candidates’ answers to club questionnaires and interviews with members of its executive committee. The club said it makes its endorsements on a nonpartisan basis.
The review included an evaluation of each candidate’s environmental record and “ability to run a viable campaign,” according to the Sierra Club.
The questionnaire considered candidate views of top environmental priorities for the city; complex issues with challenging environmental considerations such as the Beauregard Small Area Plan; Alexandria waterfront; Potomac Yard Metro station; policies to promote more walking, bicycling and transit options; reducing overall city emissions levels; and promoting more clean energy options making Alexandria a greener, more sustainable community.
The club outlined the reasons for its support. It said:
1. John Chapman brings a "positive and engaging outlook," according to the club, and understands many environmental issues such multi-modal transit, the need for more local leadership on reducing fossil fuel use, expanding recycling through community outreach and updating Alexandria's Eco-City plan. "The city needs local leaders that have the energy to engage with the public to promote a greener Alexandria," the group said.
2. Del Pepper is a Sierra Club member who the club previously endorsed. It called her a "genuine leader on environmental issues in Alexandria, and a constant friend of the Sierra Club." The group cited her work on the GenOn campaign, Eco-City and the club's current Beyond Coal campaign. "We have been able to count on Del’s enthusiastic support for the environment, and willingness to meet with us to offer perspectives on ongoing issues and participation at Club events," the group said.
3. Tim Lovain is a Sierra Club member who the club previously endorsed. The club noted his career as a transit professional and said he has a "comprehensive understanding of environmental issues both during our interview and as shown on his website." The club highlighted his "unique ideas," such as using the NoVA Home Performance with Energy Star Program to help promote clean energy options to residents and businesses.
4. Paul Smedberg has received the club's endorsement before. The club cited Smedberg as someone "who ably articulates his positions and viewpoints on the key land use decisions by the current City Council." The group noted his leadership in closing the GenOn/Mirant plant and cited his service on regional transportation groups and advocacy for green trolleys.
5. Justin Wilson also has been previously endorsed by the Sierra Club. The club said Wilson is a "strong proponent of smart growth, transit and clean energy, and has the energy and communication skills to be a strong advocate for the environment on the City Council."
6. Bob Wood "brings an uncommon depth of knowledge and understanding on a range of key environmental issues, including water quality, stormwater runoff, green buildings, and the challenges of smart growth," according to the club. It added that Wood would be a welcome addition to council because he "takes the long view in considering the impact of the decisions made today on our urban landscape and quality of life for all Alexandrians."
The Mount Vernon group is one of 13 local organizations within the Virginia Chapter of the Sierra Club, representing approximately 3,500 members in Northern Virginia.