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Last week, I was invited on a radio show to discuss environmental justice and the Dominion campaign finance bill that failed. Unfortunately, we never covered it.

Allow me to do so here. Buckle in this long bc the problem is HUGE.
For those not in the know, SB25 would have prohibited candidates from “soliciting or accepting a contribution from any public service corporation," For those outside of Virginia, this directly affects Dominion Energy (the electric company for most ppl)
Virginia has NO campaign contribution limits. NONE.

If you're an energy company, you can give $50,000 to a candidate. Dominion typically gives tons of money on both sides of the aisle.

I'll let you decide what that money does for them.
Anyway, SB25 fails in committee when Democrats who previously voted for the bill voted against it this time around. The difference this time around?

They knew that with their votes this time the bill could pass. Also, these same Dems receives tens of thousands from Dominion.
Now SB25 was a bit problematic because it essentially put limits on only energy companies and not other corporations. The person introducing the bill did it for entirely self-serving reasons I'm sure.

But the fact remains, Dominion has used money to capture the state.
Notice I say the state and not just the politicians. I'll never forget going to this past Virginia State NAACP conference and Dominion reps greeting us at the door since they sponsored the conference.

The optics were terrible and our branch spoke out.
National NAACP has warned to not let energy companies fool us: nytimes.com/2020/01/05/bus…

So this is a tried and true game. But here in VA, Dominion arguably holds influence over both the Democratic party and the NAACP. Who does this hurt the most?

Black folk.
Even Trump's EPA found just last year that environmental pollution hits Black communities the hardest.

And it's not just an issue of proximity, it's magnitude. Polluting stations are placed near Black communities and when they are, they pollute MORE than they would usuually.
We actually saw this play out right here in Virginia with #UnionHill. The compressor station was not only going to be built in a Black community but the energy company didn't even consider a method that would produce less pollution: virginiamercury.com/2020/01/07/fed…
But why is this happening? Because these companies can essentially buy the legislature.

Now some of these Democrats have put out really pathetic statements that in all their year legislature, the people giving them $50k a cycle haven't put any pressure on them.
Their statements during the vote barely seemed coherent. They worried that by banning these contributions, there would be transparency issues. Sure. Okay. Right.
You decide what you want to believe. But if you're like me, you know we need to put limits on these corporations that are getting their interest heard above people, especially the most vulnerable ppl.

@JoshuaCole has HB 111 that tries to do the same thing.
Let your legislature know you want campaign contribution limits. That you want to know they are selling you out to the biggest donor.

It's impacting our state. It's allowing people to pollute on the backs of Black people. And it's making a mockery of our government.
But more importantly, stop letting these politicians trick you. Don't let them come talk to you about Citizens United and a bunch of federal progressive issues they have no power over while they are taking money from the energy company.

Hold them accountable.
That's it. Had to say it. I'll be in Richmond tomorrow talking to the elected representatives about this and other issues.
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