Rhonda and I have lived in the High Country for 29 years and we know what a special place we have in Ashe and Watauga Counties. We are indeed blessed with beautiful landscapes, pristine waters and enviable air quality that have been conserved for us by previous generations.

The North Carolina Sierra Club and the League of Conservation Voters endorse my campaign. Their work protecting the quality of land, air and water in our entire state is essential to the future prosperity and health of all North Carolinians from Manteo to Beech Mountain. I will always vote to protect our natural resources and to hold violators accountable for damage whenever and wherever it occurs.

Some say that we endanger our economy by protecting the environment. In fact, the opposite is true. Our economy depends on a healthy environment. How do you think property values are faring where wells are contaminated with GenX, or near coal ash spills? Good stewardship of the environment protects and strengthens our economy. How can our farmers cultivate the land if it is contaminated?

Climate change jeopardizes our ski industry—warmer weather is shortening the ski season and producing huge gaps in what should be prime tourism times.

Climate change is also a threat to the diverse agricultural interests in the region. Weather extremes are already taking a toll on agriculture in the region. Droughts, warm weather in February and March followed by later freezes, and extreme rain events present new threats to North Carolina’s agricultural interests. To make matters worse, the Republican-controlled legislature has cut financial support for Cooperative Extension that assists farmers and researchers to address issues resulting from a changing climate.

During my first term, I was primary sponsor of HB 632, a bill that, if passed, would ban fracking in our state. I have also been primary sponsor on HB 55, a bill that, if passed, would protect military resources, fisheries, and tourist destinations.

I will continue fighting for these issues if reelected because I know that protecting the environment will create new jobs in alternative energy and keep our state a healthy and beautiful place to live. What we have in the High Country and across North Carolina is too precious to lose. I am committed to this end. It is our moral obligation to pass down a clean, healthy environment to our children and grandchildren.