Center for American Progress

RELEASE: Governors, Mayors Discuss Plans To Implement Biden’s Economic and Climate Legislation
Press Release

Washington, D.C. — Today, governors and mayors from across the country joined the Center for American Progress and the Center for Innovative Policy for a summit to discuss the economic progress they are making after passage of the Biden administration’s historic economic and climate change legislation.

The officials outlined how these measures are helping their communities transform to support new jobs and clean energy in the months and years to come.

Maryland Gov. Wes Moore (D) said President Joe Biden’s vision has translated directly into job growth in his state and around the country.

“We’re talking about a job growth in two years that we have not seen a president accomplish in four,” Moore said. “That’s facts, that’s numbers—that when we’re talking about brand-new record investments in infrastructure, that’s not just hyperbole. I can tell you as the chief executive of the state of Maryland, that’s real because we’ve been there, we’re putting that capital to work in the state of Maryland.”

Moore added: “The president is moving full force into not just a reminder to this country of what’s been accomplished over these past few years, but moving full force and helping people understand that we’ve still got work to do. And we’ve got to move in partnership in order to make this happen.”

Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz (D) discussed how he had just signed into law a measure calling for 100 percent clean energy in the state by 2040. That legislation had both labor and utility companies in the state on board.

“If we’re going to move to this clean energy economy, Minnesota wants to be there, to be the place where we manufacture, the place where we do the innovation, the place where we implement that,” Walz said. “We can’t be aggressive enough on this because, again, the competition is already global to a point where we’re losing our competitive advantage, especially in those spaces. Minnesota wants to lead in that.”

Colorado Gov. Jared Polis (D) discussed his state’s investments in clean energy jobs and how that will bolster the economy while mitigating climate change. He said the state would transition to 80 percent renewable energy by the end of 2029 and wants to achieve 100 percent clean energy by 2040.

“We want to be in the forefront of not only making sure that electric vehicles can access our market but also that we have the charging and infrastructure in place to make them a success and that we are able to promote affordability though tax credits and other mechanisms,” Polis said.

Polis said he views the transition to clean energy as a change to end the state’s reliance on costly natural gas so that consumers see energy savings. And he stressed the importance of a “just transition” that would help workers from coal power plants, mining, and other legacy fuels get retraining for new jobs.

“The jobs are different, and the skills are different,” he said. “We need to make sure that we bring people along and that we can square people’s livelihoods in the clean energy future.”

New York Gov. Kathy Hochul (D) credited the Biden administration with helping to create 536,000 new jobs in her state over the past 1 1/2 years. That includes about 50,000 new manufacturing jobs in upstate New York due to passage of the CHIPS and Science Act.

“The jobs are starting to come back from the money that we’ve been using from the federal dollars to create those jobs,” she said.

Hochul added: “We’ve been absolutely joined at the hips with our federal partners, President Biden, our leadership, to bring the infrastructure spending, the climate money, the child care money, and money to build resiliency because of climate change,” she said. “All of it is being spent in New York state very happily by this governor.”

North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper (D) said he sees the Biden administration’s economic legislation and the funding it provides as an opportunity for generational change.

“I am so excited about the investments that we’re going to be able to make,” he said. “We’re going to be laying the groundwork with these generational funds to make sure that we’re building a North Carolina, particularly based on advanced manufacturing, that’s going to provide great-paying jobs.”

Cooper praised the Biden administration’s legislation for, among other things, capping drug prices, investing in child care so parents can get back into the workforce, and providing money to connect high-speed internet across North Carolina.

He also praised climate change legislation that will help create jobs in the private sector to build electric vehicles, charging stations, and other infrastructure.

“We’re so excited about the Inflation Reduction Act because it helps us to fund our EV infrastructure and to coax people into getting electric vehicles,” he said.

Richmond, Va., Mayor Levar Stoney (D) said his top priorities are dealing with his city’s housing crisis, improving public safety, and helping better the lives of children and families. He praised the American Rescue Plan Act for helping steer federal funds directly to cities, so local leaders can target money to areas where it’s needed most.

“It gives us the flexibility to innovate and be creative because at the end of the day, it’s cities and mayors who are the front lines,” he said. “I’m grateful that we were able to get that function into the American Rescue Plan Act, and moving forward, it’s my hope that they take a page out of President Biden’s book and empower local governments to make these decisions.”

Stoney said about half of the $155 million the city received from the American Rescue Plan Act is being used to build new community centers in Black neighborhoods and other communities of color that were historically redlined. Other funds were used to create more than 250 new seats for early childhood education and preschool for the city’s children as well as exploring how to re-connect the historically Black neighborhood of Jackson Ward, that was literally split in half by I-95, to help revitalize the area.

“This is the largest investment in local government since the Great Society, and I think we’re going to see great results and accomplishments for years and years to come,” Stoney said.

Washington, D.C., Mayor Muriel Bowser (D) said her city’s biggest economic challenge post-COVID-19 is revitalizing local businesses, closing wealth gaps, and attracting more residents to the city. The economic legislation that President Biden’s administration has steered through Congress is providing a major lift for her and other city leaders to address those issues.

“I think the president deserves a lot of credit,” she said.

She said she also urged the administration to think about how to make it easier for cities to spend federal funds.

“It’s great to have a lot of money,” she said. “What’s not great is not being able to spend it. As we think about policies that help us get policies out the door, we should also think about innovative procurement policy as well.”

Bowser also praised federal funding for projects that will improve neighborhood walkability, safety, and affordable transportation access.

“These dollars will help us advance planned work on making intersections more safe,” she said.

Click here to watch the event.

For more information or to speak with an expert, please contact Sam Hananel at [email protected].

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