Deanna Reed (D) is the program director at a local nonprofit focused on youth empowerment who is running for Harrisonburg City Council. She is running for re-election, and currently serves as Mayor. According to the Deanna Reed for Harrisonburg City Council website, her campaign centers around Education, Opportunity, and Community. Mayor Reed has been a proponent for Harrisonburg’s Environmental Action Plan and was the featured speaker at Climate Action Alliance of the Valley’s Earth Day Celebration at Purcell Park in 2018.
See her responses to CAAV’s Questionnaire below the list of questions:
1) Do you support the 50×25 campaign?
2) How would you implement the 3 goals of the 50×25 campaign?
3) What would you do to increase or facilitate the adoption of renewable energies or solar in City and School buildings?
4) How would you prioritize city and state resources for addressing environmental justice concerns, specifically energy efficiency for low income housing?
5) What do you think about recycling?
6) Is there anything Harrisonburg can do to reduce transportation emissions, the largest sector of climate change emissions in VA and the United States?
I’m happy to think that Virginia is already moving in this direction with Governor Northam’s Executive Order in September to reduce Virginia’s fossil fuels to zero by 2050. There are certainly actions that the city can consider to adopt more energy-efficient measures, and I believe it is important to listen to the climate experts and to more carefully explore initiatives like the 50×25 Campaign that are advocating for an improved environment. I know that any efforts to combat global warming are going to require massive buy in from city residents and that means that it is important that we include those residents in the decision making process. A collaborative model, where we ask citizens to participate alongside experts in looking for solutions, will work much better than a top-down heavy-handed approach.
I think it is important to find cost-effective ways to introduce renewable energy sources. Bluestone Elementary School is a wonderful example incorporating renewable energy to create a strong return on our investment. Our city staff and school board work extremely hard looking for these solutions and I fully support their dedication to creating the best balance of affordable and renewable energy. This is another area where further collaboration with community groups and climate experts will benefit the city, and I believe that we can collaborate with other area governments and the state government to explore best practices and interventions. These solutions do not exist in isolation, so our approach to environmental issues will require that we work in concert with others.
One of the things I believe the 50×25 Campaign is asking for is a culture shift in the way we consider our city’s energy consumption and how we envision our future. To do this, we need to continually work to educate one another about climate change and its impacts on our community, and to look for the relationships between climate and other key issues the city is facing. For example, we are increasing bus schedules and routes to offer more public transportation options for residents. Improving bus usage can decrease our reliance on cars and cut greenhouse emissions, just as our efforts to improve our bike routes can also help in this area. The tie in between energy efficiency and affordable housing is another great example of how the issues are interrelated. As we seek solutions for affordable housing, we know that reducing utility bills for low-income residents is key. All these issues tie together in a way that motivates and excites me as the Mayor of this City. I’m grateful for the work of our community advocacy groups to move these conversations forward.