Nov 03, 2021
Advocates for far-reaching climate action applauded Michelle Wu's victory in Boston as the city elected a new mayor who ran on a platform including a comprehensive city-level Green New Deal, combating environmental racism, and accelerating decarbonization.
Wu won more than 64% of the vote against Annissa Essaibi George, a city councilor who ran as a centrist, according to the New York Times.
The former president of the Boston City Council pledged to "meet this moment" in her victory speech Tuesday night.
"The Green New Deal is only becoming more and more popular and we're so excited that we're seeing its implementation across the country, from all levels of our society."
"We are ready to become a Boston for everyone," Wu said. "We're ready to be a Boston where all can afford to stay and thrive. And yes, Boston is ready to become a Green New Deal city."
Wu pledged during her campaign to implement a "Boston Green New Deal and Just Recovery," unveiling plans to achieve a "net-zero municipal footprint" by 2024, 100% renewable electricity in the city by 2030, and carbon neutrality by 2040.
Wu's Green New Deal would achieve those goals by increasing the adoption of renewable heating technology for buildings, earmarking funds for the electrification of public transit, requiring all new buildings to be net-zero carbon, and issuing green municipal bonds to develop large-scale infrastructure projects such as community solar farms.
The mayor-elect also vowed to strengthen a "green jobs economy," establishing an intensive green jobs training program at the city's Madison Park Technical Vocational High School and ensuring employment in Boston's clean energy industry is accessible to low-income people.
"An Urban Climate Corps can expand employment opportunities for our youth and residents who face barriers to employment," wrote Wu in her plan. "Through a paid training program, their work can revitalize the neighborhoods they call home through green infrastructure installation, climate-resilient design, the restoration of natural spaces, and community engagement."
Wu won the endorsement of Sen. Ed Markey (D-Mass.), co-author of the Green New Deal resolution in the U.S. Congress, who said she would be a "transformational mayor" for the city. As Wu was announced the winner of the election, Markey said her victory showed "the whole country that the Green New Deal is a winning issue."
\u201cCongratulations Mayor-Elect Michelle Wu\u2014the one and only @wutrain\u2014and your entire team of organizers and volunteers. You ran a grassroots campaign about the future of Boston and your victory tonight shows the whole country that the Green New Deal is a winning issue.\u201d— Ed Markey (@Ed Markey) 1635907262
"The Green New Deal is only becoming more and more popular and we're so excited that we're seeing its implementation across the country, from all levels of our society," tweeted the Sunrise Movement as it congratulated Wu on her victory.
The organization endorsed Wu and worked closely with her campaign team to develop policy proposals.
"Truly wonderful climate news."
"Michelle's policy team came to us multiple times and said, 'What are your priorities and how can we work together to meet them?'" Jonathan Waldmann, an organizer with Sunrise Boston, toldThe New Republic. "We have a lot of policy proposals, whether it's about affordable housing or heat islands. I think in a solid partnership, we're able to voice those concerns to Wu's team once she's in office and ideally, she's able to translate them into legislative action."
Wu's vision also includes plans for a just recovery from the coronavirus pandemic, emphasizing that recovering from the crisis is "intertwined" with the Green New Deal and that the pandemic has demonstrated that "larger, more meaningful interventions" are necessary rather than "too disruptive," as communities have been told for decades.
"A Local Green New Deal and Just Recovery must direct this scale of collective action to take aim at the root causes of systemic injustices, setting an intersectional vision to address urgent inter-linked disparities for intersectional communities," said Wu in her proposal.
The mayor-elect also made economic justice a central theme of her campaign, noting that gentrification and the influx of technology and financial corporations in Boston have pushed lower- and middle-class families out of the city. Wu's plan for "transportation justice," which includes fare-free public transit, is aimed at making the city more accessible to all while cutting down on emissions from vehicles.
Wu would also advocate for state legislation allowing for rent stabilization and aims to replace the city's Planning and Development Agency with an independent planning board and "city departments subject to oversight and accountability," charging officials with matching "community needs."
350.org co-founder Bill McKibben called Wu's victory "truly wonderful climate news."
"She's going to show what a truly committed big-city mayor can do!" tweeted McKibben.
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