Commentary: Coming Together in Northern Virginia over Climate Change

Commentary: Coming Together in Northern Virginia over Climate Change

As the Republican candidate in Virginia’s Eighth Congressional District, which leans hard left, I knew faced a steep challenge going into this November’s election.

On election night, I lost. Despite my disappointment, I was gratified to discover that many Virginians supported my fiscally conservative policies. By putting forward a plan to address climate change with a pro-growth free-market framework, I am proud to have made climate change a central issue in at least one Congressional race.

I made no bones about it: climate change is real, it’s here, and market-based approaches are the best solution we’ve got.

Voters in my district responded to honest talk from a conservative on climate change. The Eighth District supported me over Donald Trump by more than 10 points. That’s a good showing in one of the most heavily Democratic districts in the Commonwealth.

Independent voters and lifelong Republicans alike responded to an honest discussion of climate change. They were eager to hear a conservative candidate’s plan to face this challenge because they want to protect their loved ones and see the U.S. lead global energy innovation.

Environmental issues aren’t just for the left or the right. Across the political spectrum, Americans care about their children’s health. They know that climate change increases the risk of asthma, allergies, and other respiratory diseases, especially among children. That’s why the American Public Health Association has named 2017 the Year of Climate Change and Health.

Many moderate and conservative voters are people of faith, and they are responding to faith leaders’ call to protect working families from the effects of climate change. Finally, moderate and conservative voters have great respect for our men and women in uniform, and they know that the U.S. military has called climate change a significant risk to national security.

As I read the media coverage of this election, I saw that there was some confusion about conservative attitudes to climate change.

Conservative people do support real action on climate. We want to protect our kids. We want to serve our faiths. We want to support our troops. Solving climate change is a conservative goal.

Market-based solutions can get us there. The votes in my district are proof of that.