On Thursday, August 26th, the United States Conference of Mayors (USCM) gathered virtually for a jam-packed third day of the 89th Annual Meeting. More than thirty individual policy resolutions were advanced in three separate standing committee meetings. Mayors also discussed challenges facing their constituents, sharing new ideas, best practices, and support as cities continue to recover from the Covid-19 pandemic.
Environment Standing Committee, Chaired by St. Petersburg (FL) Mayor Rick Kriseman
With the climate crisis being a major concern of America’s mayors, St. Petersburg (FL) Mayor Rick Kriseman led the Environment Standing Committee’s consideration of seventeen resolutions. Chairman Kriseman kicked off the meeting by thanking the Committee’s Vice Chair, Lima (OH) Mayor David Berger, for his 32 years of service and highlighting the mayor’s work to reshape the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and help cities manage costly water and waste projects.
Of the seventeen resolutions considered, eleven directed dealt with climate change and highlighted, among other things, support for the “Cities Race to Zero” campaign, a Civilian Climate Corps, use of urban design to combat climate change, and fully funded Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grants (EECBGs). Other resolutions dealt with the treatment and storage of radioactive waste, the backlog of Army Corps of Engineers projects, and recycling. Thirteen resolutions were passed without amendment or dissent.
Four resolutions were singled out for individual consideration and debate. Lima (OH) Mayor Berger spoke in support of his Future of Clean and Safe Water Resources in American Cities resolution as well as a Support for Diversity in the Environmental Movement resolution. After an amendment to the latter was accepted, both resolutions were adopted. Chairman Kriseman also led a discussion of amendments to the Support for Plastic Pollution Reduction resolution which were adopted before the resolution was passed.
A full list of the approved resolutions can be found here. All resolutions will be considered by the Executive Committee before being adopted into official USCM policy.
Following resolution deliberation, and passage of the resolution in support of the “Cities Race to Zero” campaign, mayors heard from officials from Local Governments for Sustainability (ICLEI), the C40 Cities Climate Leadership Group, and CDP. Officials gave a joint presentation explaining the UN-spearheaded “Race to Zero” campaigns taking place globally, laying out steps for cities to join the challenge, and recommending evidence-based policies that cities can take to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
Before adjourning the meeting, Chairman Kriseman emphasized the urgent need to address the climate crisis and urged mayors to sign onto the “Cities Race to Zero campaign” and encourage their colleagues to do the same.
Jobs, Education, and the Workforce Standing Committee, Chaired by Phoenix (AZ) Mayor Kate Gallego
Phoenix (AZ) Mayor Kate Gallego presided over the Jobs, Education, and the Workforce Standing Committee’s consideration of ten resolutions.
Nine resolutions were introduced prior to the meeting, all of which were adopted. Many resolutions focused on revitalizing the American workforce. Three such resolutions called for solutions to help entrepreneurs, creative workers, and youth summer employees. Other resolutions promoted tuition-free community college, awareness of systemic racism in America, the creation of a Civilian Climate Corps, and the reauthorization of the bipartisan Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA).
Pembroke Pines (FL) Mayor Frank Ortis introduced a tenth and final resolution for consideration. The resolution, which calls attention to the surge of new innovations in-home delivery, transportation, travel, and e-commerce within suburban and metro communities during the Covid-19 pandemic, affirms the Conference’s support for quality-of-life benefits in these new flourishing sectors of the economy. The resolution was passed without opposition.
A full list of the approved resolutions can be found here.
Following consideration of resolutions, Louisville (KY) Mayor Greg Fischer asked fellow mayors for news on the developing situation with Afghan refugees. Noting that cities want to aid the ongoing national effort to assist refugees, Mayor Fischer asked mayors to keep an eye out for information regarding visa status and long-term resettlement. Albany (NY) Mayor Kathy Sheehan’s city has received a number of refugees in the past few days, and she pledged to be a resource to the Conference on this topic.
USCM President and Dayton (OH) Mayor Nan Whaley also thanked mayors for participating in the standing committee process, the “bread and butter” of USCM’s work, and reiterated the Conference’s support as mayors rebuild their communities post-pandemic.
Energy Standing Committee, Chaired by Bedford (MA) Mayor Jon Mitchell
Finally, Bedford Mayor Chairman Jon Mitchell presided over the Energy Standing Committee’s consideration of six resolutions.
All six resolutions were passed without modification. Adopted resolutions included those voicing support for federal investment in retrofitting, electric transportation, and a clean energy transition by 2035.
A full list of the approved resolutions can be found here.
Mayors were later joined by Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) Director Amanda Lefton for a presentation on Biden Administration initiatives to jumpstart offshore wind energy, create thousands of sustainable energy jobs, and hit a national target of 30 GW of installed offshore wind capacity by 2030. Director Lefton emphasized that mayors are critical partners in the Administration’s whole-of-government approach to transition the country to a clean energy economy and hit the 2030 target. Chairman Mitchell and Beverly (MA) Mayor Mike Cahill followed up with questions.
Mayor Cahill asked fellow mayors for advice on securing funding for retrofitting and building electrification in his city of Beverly. Chairman Mitchell and USCM Staff Rich Anderson provided guidance. Mr. Anderson further pledged that guidance on the city-level impact of the Budget Reconciliation package and Bipartisan Infrastructure Framework will be sent to mayors as the bills near their final form.