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"Having been deprived of nature in my own childhood, I understood the significance of both restoring the green spaces that once were and protecting the plants, animals, and land that surround us. It is imperative that our children and grandchildren have a healthy planet to call home."

A Note from Tekesha

I was raised in foster care in the Jonathan Street community in Hagerstown—a lower income area and one of few majority Black neighborhoods in Washington County. While there, I did not have much access to green space or nature, and that which I did have access to was neglected and in need of care. As time went on, after I had left Jonathan Street and returned, I discovered the importance of our relationship with the environment. Having been deprived of nature in my own childhood, I understood the significance of both restoring the green spaces that once were and protecting the plants, animals, and land that surround us. It is imperative that our children and grandchildren have a healthy planet to call home.


My pathway to public service has always intertwined with youth engagement and empowerment. Long before I even thought about running for City Council, I worked on programs at the Boys and Girls Club. Partnering with the 4H Club, we brought kids from my childhood neighborhood out into the farmlands and forests of Washington County. We connected them to nature and agriculture in a way that I never had the chance to as a child. I could see in their eyes an interest blossoming in the beauty of their surroundings. This will be their Earth one day, and it was obvious how critical it would be to them that these experiences remained accessible throughout their lives.


As Councilmember and later Mayor of Hagerstown, I helped push along a plan to redevelop Wheaton Park—one of Jonathan Street’s only public green spaces which has been neglected for years. The improvements include repairs to the existing park as well as new amenities for the community to gather for outdoor activities. Another significant environmental struggle for the city has been stormwater drainage. Impervious surfaces and an aging drainage system made the center of town historically prone to flooding. The nearby Antietam and Conococheague Creeks have suffered significant runoff pollution, which leads downstream to the Potomac River and Chesapeake Bay. On Council, one of the first projects I worked on was an overhaul of the stormwater drainage program that defined best practices for stormwater management, mandated new development to include detailed drainage plans, and authorized greater stormwater infrastructure through environmental site design.


These are just localized perspectives on greater environmental challenges. Everyday issues like the health of our city parks and the storms that lead to polluted runoff entering our waterways are smaller effects of the overarching threat of climate change. The science is clear on the fact that climate change is happening due to human activity, so our policies should match that clarity. Public servants like myself should accept the increasingly important role of environmental stewards, and we should never be afraid of calling on experts to fill in the gaps of our own understanding. As someone who originally ran for office on a platform of transparency and accountability, we must also ensure that policy on the environment is enacted on behalf of the people we serve, not blocked or gutted on behalf of the corporations that pay the highest dollar.

I have found it crucial to the communities I serve that the environment is protected and restored wherever possible, and that the damage caused by human development is mitigated by human action. Our successes and failures on the environment today will be magnified in the world of tomorrow that our children inherit. As Congresswoman for Western Maryland, I will combine my personal experience with the beauty of our region to make a national appeal: there is no time to waste, let’s save our planet while we can.

As Congresswoman, Tekesha's goals will include:

  • Working to achieve a 50% reduction in carbon emissions from 2005 levels by 2030 and a net zero emissions economy by 2050.

  • Ensuring an equitable and just transition away from fossil fuel dependency that both guarantees that workers in that sector are well-trained and supported for incoming union-strong clean energy jobs and strengthens our national security by reducing our energy reliance on foreign oil and protecting our environment.

  • Supporting retrofit programs that help homeowners cut energy costs and reduce their carbon footprint through efficiency upgrades while also stimulating job growth and economic activity.

  • Stopping any further expansion of coal, oil, and gas extraction from federal lands.

  • Exploring expanded investment into nuclear energy technologies.

  • Helping farmers, their families, and rural communities protect their livelihoods while increasing agricultural sustainability and harmony with the environment by incentivizing evidence-based practices such as increasing crop diversity and rotations, planting cover crops to improve soil health during the off-season, and mimimizing pesticide use through integrated pest management strategies. This mission will also be aided by holding large corporations accountable for the lack of oversight for healthy practices on massive factory farms.

  • Fund upgrades and expansion of existing transportation and energy infrastructure to meet the demands of a future clean energy economy, including rural power grids and EV stations.

  • Support, protect, and expand the extent of climate-focused measures in major legislation such as the Inflation Reduction Act, which has already had a significant impact on emissions, the restoration of ecosystems, energy efficiency, and sustainable agriculture all while continuing to create thousands of jobs and ensuring environmental justice to communities who have faced the worst of the damage from climate change so far.

  • Support, protect, and expand the extent of measures supporting clean infrastructure in bills such as the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, which is not only helping vulnerable communities build climate resilience but is preemptively investing in cleaner transportation methods such as high-speed passenger rail which will dramatically reduce our everyday carbon emissions.

  • Recognize that climate change will have its most harmful effects on our most vulnerable populations, especially Black and Brown mothers who want to leave a healthy planet to their families, by empowering them to organize via community-based approaches and take action through political participation. (See: A Women's Agenda) 

  • Recognize that any approach to solving climate change must come with an investment in nurturing the careers of women and girls who should be at the forefront of a greener future. (See: A Women's Agenda)  

  • Pass the A. Donald McEachin Environmental Justice for All Act to address the disproportionate health and environmental effects of federal programs on communities of color and low-income communities, ensure oversight and improvement on childcare and cosmetic products containing chemicals linked to adverse health impacts, and support equitable access to parks and recreational opportunities for underserved communities.

  • Pass the Protecting Moms and Babies Against Climate Change Act to invest in community-based efforts to mitigate exposure to extreme climate risks that pose a threat to vulnerable mothers and infants. (See: A Women's Agenda) 

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