Mayoral Candidates Discuss Their Sustainability Bona Fides
Chicago mayoral candidates gathered in a downtown auditorium recently to share their views on sustainability to a sold out crowd of environmentally conscious voters at a monthly Green Drinks event – an institution for Chicago’s sustainability community.
Five of the 16 candidates attended, including Danny Davis, Miguel Del Valle, John Hu, Carol Moseley Braun, and Patricia Van Pelt-Watkins. Each candidate outlined his or her view about the city’s current track record on sustainability, what sustainability means to them, and the role environmental issues would play in their administration.
Most candidates hit upon the sore spot that is Chicago’s recycling program, and several stressed the importance of reducing residents’ dependence on cars and creating more green space. Increasing energy efficiency in buildings was also a key concern, with candidates pointing out that efficiency measures create local jobs, save residents money and conserve energy.
Transportation costs and public transit funding were issues for Del Valle and Moseley Braun. Del Valle pointed out that transportation is the second biggest household expense. He called on examining how the Regional Transportation Authority is funded and making sure it receives its due share of the state funding pie. Moseley Braun also touched on this imbalance, stating that “regionalism has been a dirty word” in Illinois politics and that the transportation funding formula should better reflect per capita needs.
Davis discussed the importance of innovative green technology as one of the best opportunities for local job creation and economic growth.
John Hu said he would require instituting water metering in homes while Patricia Van Pelt-Watkins said she would develop more urban greenhouses and pocket gardens around the city. Among some of the more common themes between candidates, both Del Valle and Moseley Braun would shut down the city’s two ancient and polluting coal-fired powered plants, Hu and Moseley Braun discussed banning Styrofoam, and Davis and Del Valle would retrofit all city-owned buildings and quickly ramp up energy efficiency measures in residential dwellings, respectively.
CNT has created a sustainability agenda for mayoral and City Council candidates that includes a set of 22 recommendations for using green policy measures to boost economic development. The belief that sustainable development is economic development has guided CNT’s work for 32 years. We look forward to working with the city’s next leadership to implement strategies that are good for the economy and the environment.
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(Photo by Nicole Gotthelf)