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Trieste Lockwood, 32

Senior Policy Advisor to the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality

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Trieste Lockwood first started studying climate change as an undergrad — and she's always been a problem solver.

After becoming a lawyer, she worked for a few nonprofits in Richmond and quickly decided she wanted to focus on policy work. "What motivates me is strong state policy," she says. "And we really are making progress in the right direction."

She's worked on a variety of environmental and energy policy issues such as coal-ash storage and recycling, renewable energy and energy efficiency. Appointed to her current job by Gov. Ralph Northam, she now works to secure environmental protections and keep our air and water clean.

"Right now I'm part of the team working towards finalizing a carbon pollution reduction rule, starting the process to regulate methane emissions, engaging as a new member of the Transportation Climate Initiative [a collaboration of states seeking 'to improve transportation, develop the clean energy economy and reduce carbon emissions from the transportation sector'] and we will be reanalyzing our renewable energy permitting rule to encourage more renewable energy production in the future."

She's also on the board of Gallery 5, one of the city's premier grass-roots arts institutions, has mentored for Big Brothers, Big Sisters, as well as played a major role supporting Liz Doerr for School Board last year.

In her day job, she's learned that the most important thing is to be proactive rather than reactive.

"I think it's really valuable for decision-makers and advocates to keep an open mind and hear from all stakeholders on issues," she says. "Informed decision-making, though it takes time, creates informed policies. Whether city or state level, good policy really should benefit everyone."

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