Southeast Region National Dialogue Event

Orlando Mayor Dyer, Miami Mayor Suarez, Columbia Mayor Benjamin and US Rep. Castor Speak About a Sustainable and Just Economic Recovery

The livestream panel was the first in the Climate Mayors National Dialogue on Green and Equitable Recovery, an event series running through the fall with leaders in different regions across the U.S.

Watch the full panel discussion.

July 23, 2020 – Today, Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer, Miami Mayor Francis Suarez, Columbia Mayor Stephen Benjamin, and US Representative Kathy Castor participated in a panel discussion as part of the Climate Mayors National Dialogue on Green and Equitable Recovery. The event convened like-minded institutions, partners, and policy makers for a discussion about successful climate initiatives in the Southeastern U.S., and ways that the panelists have collaborated across different levels of government.

Convened one day after Climate Mayors sent a letter to Congressional leaders, today’s conversation was the first in a Climate Mayors event series advocating for national leadership to prioritize recovery policies that are environmentally sustainable and socially just in the time of COVID-19. It was moderated by veteran journalist Tom O’Hara of The Invading Sea, a collaboration of 26 news organizations that cover climate change in Florida.

"There has never been a better time in history to re-imagine the transition towards an equitable, clean, and sustainable future," said Climate Mayors Steering Committee member Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer. "As we look to move forward, we have an opportunity to rebuild our economies by doubling-down on our climate action work, to enhance the energy efficiency and indoor environmental quality in our homes and workplaces, accelerate more renewable energy and catalyze clean transportation and mobility solutions, such as zero-emission electric buses and vehicles."

“No matter how large and global issues such as climate change may be, as Mayors we understand and can often see first-hand the impact they have at our local levels, and witness the detrimental effects on people we know in our communities,” said Climate Mayors member Columbia Mayor Steve Benjamin. “I am encouraged by the efforts of Climate Mayors who are developing the strategies to confront the climate-based threats, and pleased to join their ranks and seek the very real and actionable methods to adapt our local communities to overcoming those threats.”

“Today, we stand at the intersection of resiliency; a place where the many faces and forms of resilience converge and this panel should serve as a reminder for exactly that,” said Climate Mayors member Miami Mayor Francis Suarez. “Resiliency is never about just any one issue. Whether we’re establishing new clean-energy infrastructure or building up a food distribution system, genuine sustainability is a network and it makes me proud to be a member of an organization that tackles resilience from the root source.”

“Mayors and local leaders are taking crucial steps to make their communities more resilient, filling a leadership void left by a president who mocks science, ignores public health experts, and calls the climate crisis a hoax,” said Chair Kathy Castor of the U.S. House Select Committee on the Climate Crisis. “Now more than ever, these local leaders deserve a strong federal partner to boost their local economies, protect the health and safety of families, and solve the climate crisis. We must work together on climate solutions for communities across America, as we prioritize environmental justice, unite behind the science, and ensure a robust economic recovery in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.”

Later events in the Climate Mayors series will highlight policies and initiatives undertaken by climate leaders in the Great Lakes region, Texas, and Pennsylvania. Mayors and their partners will highlight how environmental initiatives can help stimulate local economies, create jobs, improve public health, and reduce carbon emissions in the wake of COVID-19. They will also discuss the ways that their sustainability policies prioritize frontline communities and communities of color, who are more likely to be affected by pollution and the negative impacts of climate change.

“Mayors have long been on the frontlines of addressing critical issues in our communities, and in recent months they have responded to intersecting crises of COVID-19, climate change, racial inequity, and a rapid economic downturn,” said James Ritchotte, Director of Climate Mayors. “Climate Mayors are delivering results and leading important conversations about building a better tomorrow to ensure all communities are healthier, cleaner, and more resilient than before.”  

For more Information on upcoming events in Climate Mayors National Dialogue on Green and Equitable Recovery, please visit www.climatemayors.org

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About Climate Mayors

Representing 74 million Americans from 48 states, Climate Mayors is a peer-to-peer network of 461 U.S. city mayors who have committed to fighting climate change. Originally founded in 2014, the network’s ranks swelled to almost 400 mayors in response to the Trump administration’s withdrawal from the Paris Agreement. Climate Mayors commit to taking ambitious action to meet each of their cities’ current climate goals, while working together towards achieving our national Paris targets. Climate Mayors is founded and Chaired by Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti, and Co-Chaired by Mayors Sylvester Turner (Houston) and Martin J. Walsh (Boston). For more information, please visit www.climatemayors.org.


Media Contact: Melody Meyer, mmeyer@bpimedia.com; Grace Hemming, ghemming@bpimedia.com