Perriello to address climate change at ODU, hold town hall tonight

NORFOLK, Va. (WAVY) — Tom Perriello, Democratic candidate for governor, held two events in Norfolk, with two weeks to go until the June 13 primary election.

Perriello met with administrators at Old Dominion University to talk at a roundtable about his plans to mitigate the effects of climate change and protect coastal communities on Tuesday.

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“Many of our jobs are either directly or indirectly related to our waterways,” says Emily Steinhilber, who is a research assistant and professor at ODU. “So what’s really important is to make sure as flooding increases, we continue to develop ways to better live with that water and thrive with that water.”

Last year, ODU organized the Commonwealth Center for Recurrent Flooding Resiliency. It’s a partnership between ODU, VIMS and the College of William and Mary.

Their research goes out to communities to help people recover after flooding. They’re also looking at ways flooding will affect the future, hoping they can ensure that businesses and people stay in the region.

Perriello says that’s what he wanted to meet with the team at ODU.

“I know it’s so crucial to the military’s presence here in the region, but also to some of the great businesses opportunities of the next generation around some of the water issues that we’ve seen,” says Perriello.

The researchers know it’s not an easy problem to solve, but it’s something they’ve been working on for a while.  Perriello said,

“They’re already focused on these issues, so we’re not starting from scratch. We really do have a baseline of research and information,” Perriello says.

Researchers are also hoping lawmakers will help them establish the first National Center for Sea Level Rise.

“That would allow us to further our research and to make sure our impacts are not just local, but global as well,” says Steinhilber.

Perriello will also be holding a town hall at The Murray Center to talk about his vision for the state.