Seal of the Governor
For Immediate Release: August 18, 2020
Contacts: Office of the Governor: Alenaa Yarmosky,

Governor Northam Elected Chair of Chesapeake Executive Council

RICHMOND—The Chesapeake Executive Council today elected Governor Ralph Northam to chair the six-state regional watershed partnership responsible for restoring the Chesapeake Bay.

The unanimous vote was announced at the Council’s annual meeting, which included representatives from the six Chesapeake Bay watershed states, the District of Columbia, the Chesapeake Bay Commission, and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Governor Northam succeeds Maryland Governor Larry Hogan, who has chaired the Executive Council for the past three years.

“The Chesapeake Bay is a national treasure,” said Governor Northam. “I grew up on the Bay, and I am honored to take on the role of Chair of the Executive Council as we continue our critical restoration work. I look forward to working closely with my colleagues to build a cleaner, healthier, and more sustainable Bay.”

At their meeting, the Executive Council also adopted an historic statement reaffirming the partnership’s commitment to advancing diversity, equity, inclusion, and justice throughout its Chesapeake Bay restoration work, an outcome of the Chesapeake Bay Watershed Agreement.

The Statement in Support of Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Justice commits the Chesapeake Bay Program to strengthen and improve diversity, equity, inclusion, and justice in all areas of the partnership; recruit and retain staff and volunteers that reflect the diversity of the Chesapeake Bay watershed; foster a culture of inclusion and respect across all partner organizations; and ensure the benefits of our science restoration and partnership programs are distributed equitably without disproportionate impacts on vulnerable populations. Dr. Janice Underwood, Virginia’s Director of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion, provided keynote remarks at the annual meeting and addressed the Executive Council on these important steps.

“As my first official act as Chair, I call on the Council’s principal staff to immediately begin work on the diversity, equity, and inclusion goals adopted today,” said Governor Northam. “We must build equity into every aspect of our work to restore the health of the Bay—true and lasting success comes only when we include and elevate people of different races, ethnicities, income levels, faiths, genders, ages, sexual orientations, and abilities.”

Members of the Chesapeake Executive Council include the governors of Delaware, Maryland, New York, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and West Virginia, the mayor of the District of Columbia, the chair of the Chesapeake Bay Commission, and the administrator of the EPA on behalf of the federal government.

Additional information about the Chesapeake Executive Council and materials from today’s meeting are available here.

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