Washington, D.C. — Less than three weeks after President Biden announced the American Jobs Plan, state and local officials from across the country are calling on Congress to pass an economic recovery plan centered around clean energy, climate, justice, and good paying union jobs. In a letter, organized by the League of Conservation Voters and Climate Power, 1,266 signers representing all 50 states and Washington, D.C. asked Congressional leaders to “seize a once-in-a-generation opportunity to help our communities recover by creating and sustaining millions of good paying jobs, putting us on the path to 100% clean energy, and building a more equitable and just society.”
“This many signers from every corner of the country is the clearest call yet that state and local leaders have waited long enough for a real recovery plan that tackles climate change and invests in clean energy jobs,” said Gene Karpinski, President of LCV. “They know we have a once-in-a-generation chance to fix our broken infrastructure. We can put millions back to work in new good-paying, union jobs in the clean energy economy that address the climate crisis, decades of pollution, and environmental injustice. Congress should heed this clarion call for transformational action.”
“From coast to coast, there is a groundswell of support for big, bold, and immediate investments in clean energy and infrastructure,” said Lori Lodes, Executive Director of Climate Power.” Just like President Biden, these state and local leaders know that climate action equals jobs. American leadership on climate around the world will mean millions of good-paying union jobs here at home. Congress must heed this call for urgent action.”
The letter calls on Congress to focus an infrastructure plan on three major principles, all outlined in President Biden’s American Jobs Plan:
- Put the U.S. on the path to 100% clean energy, powering everything from our electricity grid, transportation, and buildings with reliable, affordable clean energy.
- Promote equity by ensuring at least 40% of benefits go to the communities who need it most, prioritizing just and equitable solutions being led by low income and communities of color most harmed by toxic pollution and climate change.
- Incentivize high-quality, good paying union jobs, especially in the domestic clean energy and manufacturing sectors, while supporting communities historically reliant on oil, gas, and coal jobs.
“Together we can meet this historic moment and ensure this recovery delivers on the promise to build back better,” the letter says.
Letter signers include governors from California, Colorado, Nevada, New Jersey, Maine, Minnesota, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Washington, and Wisconsin; leaders of the nation’s largest cities like Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti and smaller communities like Mayor Mike Kelly of Roeland Park, Kansas (population 6,769). Other signers include state legislators, and a range of state and local officeholders.
Wisconsin (122) and Pennsylvania (110), states flipped by President Biden in 2020, saw the largest number of signers followed closely by other Midwest states key to the 2022 midterm elections, including Ohio (70), Minnesota (57), and Illinois (52).
Signers include Republicans, Democrats, Independents, and non-partisan office holders. See the full letter with all signers here.
“Every Wisconsinite has experienced the effects of climate change, and communities of color, low-income Wisconsinites, and our farmers have been among those most disproportionately affected,” said Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers. “It’s time we embrace a future where we don’t have to choose between protecting our environment and good-paying jobs and a strong economy—we can do both. That’s why I’m proud to support President Biden’s Build Back Better infrastructure investment plan that will do just that.”
“Cities have been leading the fight against climate change because we have seen the effects first hand,” said Bend Oregon Mayor Sally Russell. “Year after year our snowpack has dwindled, our rivers are lower, and wildfires have become a deadly nightmare. In Bend, we committed to 100% clean electricity, upgraded buildings and homes, and invested more than ever in clean transportation. But we cannot do it alone. Congress has to pass a recovery plan that prepares us to face the climate crisis and builds a new clean energy economy. Bend simply cannot wait any longer.”
“Investing in clean energy and targeting investments in communities of color is a moral and economic imperative for North Carolina,” said North Carolina State Representative Ricky Hurtado. It’s a winning strategy when we center the people most impacted in our state by harmful environmental policy. We know North Carolinians who live in some of the poorest counties of the state and have carried the burden of environmental racism are on the front lines of climate change—it’s time for them to be part of the solution and be at the forefront of clean energy investment.”
“The Biden-Harris Administration’s “Build Back Better” program is exactly what our nation needs to tackle climate change, put millions of people to work with good-paying jobs, and build the infrastructure that will drive economic growth for decades to come,” said California Lieutenant Governor Eleni Kounalakis. “We don’t have a moment to waste. We must act now, and we must be bold.”
“In Philadelphia, a clean energy plan could transform our city by rebuilding the vital infrastructure that our public services rely on, while creating living wage jobs for Philadelphians,” said Philadelphia City Councilmember Helen Gym. “We can reverse decades of divestment that hit communities of color the hardest by investing in a school safety and modernization campaign that addresses the urgent need for ventilation systems and the removal of lead, asbestos and mold from every public school. We need to rebuild and expand our public transportation system to meet the needs of an expanding populace and improve service for Philadelphians who rely on it. This is about more than just transforming our infrastructure – it’s about transforming our communities and the lives of our neighbors.”
The American Jobs Plan has strong bipartisan support — 70 percent of all voters support the proposal after hearing details of the plan. Specific environmental and infrastructure policies in the plan, including investing in modernizing our outdated and dangerous electrical grid and expanding rural broadband are overwhelmingly popular. More than 80 percent of voters support eliminating all lead pipes in our drinking water systems and 70 percent of all voters support investing in clean energy generation and storage, like solar panels and wind turbines.
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