It is exciting to see the progress that has been made in the last few decades in low-carbon and renewable energy – both in technology and affordability. Through free-market forces we are seeing a transition to more renewables. However, attempts to make this transition overnight by imposing strict arbitrary deadlines risks our economy and places the cost burden squarely on those that can least afford it – low income and elderly individuals. Fossil fuels, and low emissions natural gas in particular, continue to have an important role to play to ensure grid reliability and affordability. The passage of the so called “Clean Economy Act (CEA),” California vehicle emissions standards and other energy related legislation are putting unnecessary upward pressure on energy and transportation costs and placing energy reliability at risk. If these rigid Democrat implemented policies remain largely intact, costs will continue to rise. The State Corporation Commission (SCC) estimated the costs from the CEA alone would be over $800 a year for the average electric customers. These impacts will be disproportionally felt by low and middle-income families as well as industry sectors like manufacturing that are already struggling to survive – thus placing good paying jobs at risk.

I have fought hard to push back on these unworkable policies, and instead embracing an energy agenda that promotes free market incentives rather than costly mandates with arbitrary deadlines. I supported the “solar freedom” bill that removed barriers to solar development. I also carried legislation to expand the allowable use of community solar and served as the chief co-patron on a bill that incentivizes solar development on reclaimed mine lands and brownfields, rather than prime farmland. At the same time, I’ve also worked with the Youngkin Administration to restore proper State Corporation Commission authority to protect the grid, allowing them to delay plant closures if grid reliability is threatened. Similarly, I’ve led the charge the last two years to untie Virginia from the harmful California Vehicle Emissions Mandate that will ban the purchase of new gas- and diesel-powered cars and light trucks by 2035. Virginians should be allowed to purchase the car they want, not what the government tells them they must. I will continue to fight for the repeal of this harmful mandate.