GOP State Senator Richard Alloway, who represents South Central Pennsylvania, professes to be a life-life environmentalist who since childhood has enjoyed hunting and fishing. “You can be a conservative and be pro-environment,” Alloway said. “What’s the heart of the word conservative? It’s ‘conserve.'” Appointment to the Chesapeake Bay Commission two years ago led him to an active leadership role in protecting the vast estuary, which provides no beachfront to his state but is nonetheless impacted by its actions.

“I’m sort of an interesting spokesman, which is why I take this role so seriously,” he said of his role on the Commission. “I think I’m the guy who can bridge the gap between the left and the right. Let’s lower the rhetoric. Let’s talk about what we can agree on, and what we can get done.”

Alloway believes the climate is changing and that human activity contributes to the problem. As one of the efforts to protect the Bay, he is committed to reforestation projects, last year leading the planting of 3,000 trees in his district and adding 1,500 to the tally in April. The trees, sheared away during Superstorm Sandy, provide a multitude of ecological benefits to the Chesapeake Bay and surrounding ecosystems.

“I think that my generation, and the next generation, of Republicans are going to have to be pro-business and pro-environment,” he said. “The future of the Republican Party is a conservative and environmental-minded official.”