VCPC Trip to the General Assembly Highlights the Importance of Making Connections

VCPC students pictured at the offices of the Chesapeake Bay Foundation with CBF attorney Peggy Sanner: (from left to right) Howl Bean, Trace Hall, Nate Flanders, Eric Jabs, Hannah Needleman, Susan Vermillion, Lauren Coleman, Matthew Hubbard, Rosemary Hambright; and former student Ben Willis, now externing at CBF.

VCPC students pictured at the offices of the Chesapeake Bay Foundation with CBF attorney Peggy Sanner: (from left to right) Howl Bean, Trace Hall, Nate Flanders, Eric Jabs, Hannah Needleman, Susan Vermillion, Lauren Coleman, Matthew Hubbard, Rosemary Hambright; and former student Ben Willis, now externing at CBF.

When Eric Jabs spent a weekend at his home in Virginia Beach, he was reminded that state legislators not only work on behalf of our communities, but also have lives in the communities they represent. As Eric walked out of the locker room of his local rec center after a swim workout, he met Senator Frank Wagner.

“State legislature is a much smaller world than people realize…that’s why relationships are so important in this field,” says Virginia Coastal Policy Clinic (VCPC) Director Roy A. Hoagland, who has over twenty years of experience practicing environmental law.

Just a week prior, Eric, a VCPC student, met with a former Virginia state delegate and representatives of the Chesapeake Bay Foundation, Virginia League of Conservation Voters, and Chesapeake Bay Commission while visiting the General Assembly. The students then attended the Senate Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee and witnessed debates on sea level rise, oyster poaching, and a sediment bill proposed by Senator Frank Wagner.

At their chance encounter in the gym, Eric greeted the senator and then briefly discussed the sediment bill he had proposed and the relationship between the potential environmental impacts of dredging in the Lynnhaven River and the incentives for his constituency.

“Thanks to the Virginia Coastal Policy Clinic’s subject matter, it was easy to engage State Senator Frank Wagner in the rec center locker room about coastal policy bills he was presenting before the Agricultural Committee in Richmond,” says Eric. “We had covered the bills, heard lobbyists’ positions on them, and saw them debated in the committee chambers. Actions like this speak to the enormous value of the Clinic to professional development and exposure.”

 

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