October 22, 2019 News & Features » Cover Story

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Corrina Beall, 32 

Legislative and Political Director, Sierra Club Virginia Chapter

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Scott Elmquist

In 2006, Corrina Beall moved to Richmond, pursuing a double major in women’s and international studies at Virginia Commonwealth University. She planned to work in women’s aid but ended up at the Virginia chapter of the Sierra Club, where she serves as legislative and policy director.

An early job with the Feminist Majority Foundation kept her in Virginia, where she fought restrictive abortion regulations adopted by the State Board of Health. That led to Glen Besa, former director of the Virginia chapter of the Sierra Club, who recruited her to the organization in 2012. Two years later, Beall art-directed, designed and produced its first legislative score card, ranking state legislators on climate change.

“It didn’t earn me any friends at the General Assembly, but it’s been invaluable for voters to see where their legislators are,” she says. That one-woman effort has grown into a 28-page report produced by a team of eight, and the pressure on legislators has increased bills on climate and energy.

Beall is a fighter. She brings the same tenacity to bear against Dominion Energy, her largest foe at the Capitol.

“I like an uphill battle. Dominion is the biggest polluter in the state, and they’re well-funded and connected,” she says. “They’re the Goliath, we’re the David.”

She’s not alone, she says, crediting three incidents that have grown the opposition: overearnings by the utility, pipeline construction and coal-ash dumping.

“All of these incidents have brought together people who aren’t normally involved,” she says. If one thing inspires her fight, it’s those activists.

“Working with regular people, volunteers, that’s what I love the most. They are their authentic selves. They’re not there for a paycheck or to climb the corporate ladder.”

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