By Linda Cicoira — Miriam Riggs, a local artist, businesswoman, mother, and environmental activist, announced this week she will seek election to the District 7 seat on the Accomack Board of Supervisors.
The seat is currently held by Supervisor Laura Belle Gordy, who is not seeking reelection. Riggs, of Cashville, has lived in Accomack County for more than 40 years. She is a self-employed designer and raised four children in the area.
Riggs has been outspoken about rapid subdivision development in agricultural zones, enactment of wetlands protections for the seaside watershed, management of stormwater runoff, and increased regulation of industrial poultry operations.
“All of these issues have a common theme and that theme is water,” she said. “While the promise of economic development is always a popular goal, it is imperative that the sole groundwater aquifer for our locality is protected so that one industry, such as industrial poultry, does not monopolize the resource. We need to ensure that tourism, aquaculture, conventional farming, and the real estate industry are also acknowledged as vital drivers of Accomack’s economy. We need to protect waters along our Atlantic coast by speaking in opposition to offshore drilling so that the research and development at the Wallops Spaceport may continue its major role in supporting our economy.”
“I like the wisdom of having a broad and diverse economic base so that if one industry has a setback, there will still be opportunity for other industries to support our citizens. I place a high value on education, the new public library, and good internet access. Also, it is crucially important to leave room for up and coming innovators, such as renewable energy and organic farming to become established in our county.”
Riggs said she enjoyed her connection to the community when she worked for WESR radio where she was the news director. “Even my experience as host on WESR Swap Shop provided a deeper connection to the community which has helped me understand and appreciate the diverse social networks of the Eastern Shore. It enabled me to assist others in many unexpected ways, whether it was collecting donations for a family who had lost their home in a fire, or helping others sell farm equipment or even homegrown produce.”
Riggs has served on the boards of directors of Citizens for a Better Eastern Shore, the Eastern Shore Artisans Guild, Save Our Shore, and Central Green. In 2006, she co-organized “Friends of Broadway Landing” to work with state and local officials in re-establishing public access to the Chesapeake Bay at an overlooked public right-of-way. She served on the Citizen’s Stakeholder Committee that provided input for revisions to the county comprehensive plan.
She is on the Chesapeake Bay Clean Water Council. Rigg’s ongoing professional work includes exhibit design for the Barrier Islands Center and restoration of a Virginia Historic Landmark house near Eastville. She has a bachelor’s degree from Old Dominion University.
“Serving on the Accomack Board of Supervisors would be an honor for me. It would be a valuable opportunity to make a long-term commitment to my home county which has supported me for so long. I am ready to do the hard work of learning and researching the issues so that I can guide this community toward a productive and promising future.”