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Column: Working To Improve Quality of Life

Working to create a better life for the next generation has always been a key component of our American values. There has always been a cost — whether in the form of laws or taxes, and today that is no different. As we deal with the issues of the Commonwealth, we must also look to the quality of life that we are able to lead. I am a proponent of making our small businesses competitive and not overburden our residents in the process. However, I also believe that we have a duty to protect our environment as we work toward our goals.

One of the primary ways that we will help businesses in the Commonwealth become more competitive is improving our transportation infrastructure. This will help in not only shipping goods and providing services, but attracting and keeping the best talent for our businesses as potential employees make consider quality of life when deciding to move to Virginia to work. Congestion on roads and bridges in need of repair are what Northern Virginian’s face every day. This is a major downfall.

To this end, I have introduced legislation that requests on behalf of the General Assembly to make high capacity transit a funding priority by the Commonwealth Transportation Board. Investing in our transportation future is the only way in which we can ensure sustainable long-term growth in Virginia and ensure a competitive and prosperous future for the next generation.

The cost of working to protect our environment does not always come cheaply. More than just cutting back on traffic through mass transit or conserving energy in the home, we also have to look at the way we power our homes and businesses. While "going green" has been popular as of late, for both people and business entities, we must also look at our sources of electricity in Virginia. We have a voluntary incentive-based program to move to a renewable energy portfolio, but many believe that it is a high cost measure that does not yield much needed results. While an initial reaction is to make this a mandatory program, I believe that we need to understand the costs that we will impose on ourselves, and the results we can expect from such a program. To that effect, I have filed HJ 27 requesting a JLARC study of initiating a mandatory renewable energy portfolio, with the intent of understanding the costs and benefits of moving toward the use of more renewable and environmentally friendly energy sources as power is produced here in the Commonwealth.

We will face many issues in the upcoming weeks, from proposed changes in our voting laws, to extreme agendas limiting privacy, and even attacks on education. I believe the best way to combat this is a sensible, reasoned approach to dealing with the real issues we face in the Commonwealth.

Charniele Herring (D-46) serves as the House Democratic Whip and represents Alexandria City in the Virginia General Assembly. She serves on the Courts of Justice and Science and Technology Committees. For more information, visit www.charnieleherring.com or on twitter @c_herring.

By Charniele Herring

Delegate (D-46)