14 US mayors made a historic commitment last week to take action to reduce climate risks and protect the future of their communities. The Midwestern mayors, from St. Louis to St. Paul, Dubuque, and others, signed the The Path to Positive Proclamation to pledge their leadership, prepare for climate change, and promote solutions that advance prosperity for their cities, towns, and citizens.
“I signed the Proclamation today to show I am committed to building a better future for the citizens of my community, and ensure the Mississippi River Basin continues to be a stable resource for the more than $400 billion in GDP it drives for our country. The River is a keystone that supports our nation’s infrastructure. With the increases in extreme heat, flooding, and catastrophic storms we have witnessed, it’s clear that preparing for a different future is imminent,” said Hyram Copeland, Mayor of Vidalia, LA, and Co-Chair of the Mississippi River Cities & Towns Initiative.
The Path to Positive Proclamation includes mayoral commitments to:
- Create a positive energy future: Solutions should promote abundant, clean energy, avoid costly carbon pollution from dirty fuels, provide choice in affordable energy, and provide Americans greater economic freedom by making our homes, buildings, and transportation more energy efficient;
- Improve people’s health and prepare for harmful impacts: Solutions must clear the air, improve land and water quality, provide healthy food choices to nurture people’s bodies and spirits, combat the devastating health impacts of climate change, reduce injury and illness, and create a better quality of life through access to clean drinking water sources and a healthy environment;
- Build shared, sustainable prosperity: Solutions should create good, clean American jobs and a sustainable economy that supports livelihoods today and for generations to come;
- Engage all Americans: Solutions must provide all of us a say in decisions that affect our lives. Special effort should be made to include youth and vulnerable communities in crafting solutions.
The Proclamation was released through the Mississippi River Cities & Towns Initiative (MRCTI), a mayoral-led effort composed of 68 River Mayors committed to creating a coordinated voice for the Mississippi River, in partnership with Path to Positive Communities.
“Signing the Path to Positive Proclamation is a concrete action mayors in the Mississippi River Basin are taking as a way to cultivate a new level of cooperation to protect the 20 million people of this region from climate impacts to come,” said Colin Wellenkamp, Executive Director of MRCTI, following a three-day meeting that brought together more than two dozen mayors in Dubuque this week.
Path to Positive Communities is a national council of diverse community leaders and organizations united to advance climate solutions. The Path to Positive Communities program empowers local and regional leaders to maximize the opportunities climate solutions bring to American people and their communities, and inspire their citizens and other leaders to support solutions at local, regional, and national levels. Leaders and organizations from American cities, counties, and states are invited to join and leverage the Path to Positive Communities program.
Mayors who signed the Proclamation include:
Rita Albrecht of Bemidji, MN
Paxton Branch of Tallulah, LA
Roy Buol of Dubuque, IA
Chris Coleman of St. Paul, MN
Belinda Constant of Gretna, LA
Hyram Copeland of Vidalia, LA
Tim Kabat of La Crosse, WI
Dave Kleis of St. Cloud, MN
Dave Lattus of Hickman, KY
Russell Loven of Guttenberg, IA
Bill Luckett of Clarksdale, MS
Sonya Paddock of Riverdale, IA
Francis Slay of St. Louis, MO
Mark Vulich of Clinton, IA
Now, more than ever, mayors and elected officials are poised to take an important step to pledge their commitment to creating solutions to ensure a stable and prosperous future for communities across our country.