Mayoral Candidates Discuss Their Sustainability Bona Fides

candidatesChicago 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)

4 Responses to “Mayoral Candidates Discuss Their Sustainability Bona Fides”

  1. Steven Vance Says:

    The Chicago Board of Elections lists 20 candidates.

    I’m glad Carol Mosely-Braun didn’t snub CNT like she and several others did for UIC.

  2. Patricia Van Pelt-Watkins Says:

    It was a pleasure to present at the Green Drinks Forum earlier this week and I am glad you saw fit to write about it. As a non-career politician, neither I nor Mr. Hu have name recognition. Because of that, I believe it is important to assign our names to the ideas we shared at the Forum. If we are simply listed as “other candidates”, your audience will not know anymore about us than they did before we presented. Chicago could use new leadership now. And with our next vote for mayor, we will write the future. Attaching our statements and our names will increase the likelihood that your readers will have the information they need to make the right choice. Thank you for any consideration you might give to this recommendation.

  3. annette Says:

    Thank you very much for your input. You are correct – it is important to attribute candidates names to their platforms. We have edited our post accordingly. Again, thank you for following our coverage of this important election for Chicago. And we hope you have taken some time to read our set of 22 recommendations for using green policy measures to boost economic development, available for download at

  4. annette Says:

    Thanks, Steven – no-shows certainly send a negative message to voters. Progress Illinois has a running list of candidates still in the race. As of Monday, there were 16 candidates –