Anti-pipeline activist announces run for Congress

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STAUNTON, Va. (WHSV) — Jennifer Lewis, who's made a name for herself in the Shenandoah Valley as a prominent activist against Dominion and the Atlantic Coast Pipeline, announced Friday her plan to run for the Virginia's 6th District congressional seat currently held by Bob Goodlatte.

Goodlatte announced last November that he will step down from Congress after serving for 26 years.

The 6th District covers most of the Shenandoah Valley, including Amherst, Augusta, Bath, Botetourt, Highland, Page, Rockbridge, Rockingham, Shenandoah, and Warren counties, as well parts of Bedford and Roanoke County.

"It almost got to the point where I couldn't do any more as an activist, as a grass roots organizer, that I want to take the passion that I have to change my community to help my community and take that to Washington," said Lewis.

Lewis has served as a community organizer rallying a grass-roots movement against the planned pipeline for years.

"I think Dominion thought, 'Oh, this is going to be easy. we've got elected representatives on our side. We've got this,'" she told us last fall. "It is solely because of citizens standing up, united with their neighbors, with each others, saying ,'this isn't right.'"

She hasn't solely focused on the pipeline, however. Lewis was also among many women who traveled from the Valley to Washington, D.C. for the Women's March and has organized many large protests in Staunton, including ones protesting several of President Trump's moves on immigration, including the original travel ban last year.

"I'm going to the Women's March to, again, stress my support for women's reproductive rights and the freedom of choice but also just to keep that pressure up," said Lewis last month.

Eight Republicans are running for the seat as well, including Chaz Haywood, Ben Cline, Cynthia Dunbar, Elliot Pope, Kathryn Lewis, Ed Justo, Douglas Wright, and Michael Desjadon. The district has long been one of the most heavily Republican areas in Virginia.

Independent Michael Frend of Waynesboro and Democrat Sergio Coppala also have their eyes set on the seat.