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Press Release: Sierra Club Endorses Alyia Gaskins for City Council

Sierra Club Endorsements for the Alexandria Democratic Primary

for Mayor and City Council


Alexandria, VA: The Sierra Club – Virginia Chapter endorses Justin Wilson for mayor of Alexandria in the Democratic Primary on June 8. For city council, we endorse Canek Aguirre, Sarah Bagley, John Chapman, Alyia Gaskins, James Lewis, and Kirk McPike. In making these endorsements, we recognize the commitment of all candidates for mayor and city council to address Alexandria’s environmental challenges.


Our endorsement of Justin Wilson is based on his long-standing record as mayor and councilmember in support of transit and smart growth, which are crucial to addressing climate change, his leadership in the adoption of Alexandria’s ambitious Environmental Action Plan 2040 (EAP), his support of affordable housing, and his work to secure funding for much-needed improvements to Alexandria’s combined sewer system, which should greatly reduce the frequency of overflows into the Potomac. The experience of our volunteers in Alexandria is that Wilson has the demonstrated leadership, knowledge, and initiative to promote clean energy and efficiency actions by the City under its Environmental Action Plan.


Our endorsements of incumbents Canek Aguirre and John Chapman for re-election are based on their solid pro-environment records in office. Aguirre has promoted affordable housing and transportation equity through his membership on regional transportation boards, supported electrification of city vehicle fleets, supported the goals of the EAP, and voted for further review of the proposed Taylor Run stream restoration. Chapman has been instrumental in supporting funds for renewable energy credits through the budget process. He has been a strong proponent of affordable housing, has supported electrification of vehicle fleets, worked for greener buildings, and supported a delay in approval of Taylor Run work.

We also endorse four candidates making their first runs for elective office. Sarah Bagley is employed by a company that works to preserve affordable housing in 11 states. Her top environmental priorities, if elected to office, are making new development as green as possible; increasing safe, frequent, and affordable electric public transit; and funding staff positions so that the goals of the EAP can be fully realized. Alyia Gaskins is employed by a nonprofit organization where she focuses on ending homelessness. One of her main interests in running for office is climate equity; she hopes to pursue a comprehensive approach to housing, transportation, and the environment, recognizing the interconnectedness of these issues. She supports the EAP and would focus on outreach and education to promote the plan to youth, residents, and businesses. She supports greener buildings and city vehicle electrification. James Lewis is policy director for a trade group. One of his environmental priorities is greener development, and he has detailed plans for reducing building greenhouse gas emissions, in part by retrofitting buildings rather than rebuilding, where possible. Lewis supports offering greater density in exchange for commitments that advance Alexandria’s green goals. He also is focused on preventing and mitigating flooding and preserving tree canopy. Kirk McPike is chief of staff for a member of Congress. He has been active in Alexandria civic affairs. His environmental goals include repairing Alexandria’s sewer system and alleviating the pollution it causes, protecting green spaces such as the Taylor Run stream valley, and moving the city away from fossil fuels toward renewable alternatives, in part by moving to electric vehicles for city use. He supports offering added density as an incentive for greener development.

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The Potomac River Group is one of twelve local organizations within the Virginia Chapter of the Sierra Club. Representing approximately 2500 members in Alexandria, Arlington and Falls Church, the Potomac River Group works to improve the environmental quality of life in the Metro D.C. regional area and focuses on clean energy, air pollution, sustainable consumer choices, and smart-growth and transportation issues. Sierra Club makes endorsements on a non-partisan basis.


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