My top priority is climate change mitigation, including but not limited to pushing for as much renewable energy as is possible (consistent with our affordability goals that help protect lower income Austinites), closing the coal plant, facilitating electrification of and actually electrifying cars and buses (both public fleets and private vehicles) with charging stations, new mobility technologies, and procurement, keeping Austin on the leading edge of the Zero Waste movement, advancing large scale battery research and testing, and advancing the conservation and supply distribution practices for Austin Energy and our water utility (including development of new business models for each as called for in the Water Forward plan). Austin has long taken steps in these or similar directions and has done even more in these areas in the past several years. The city, together with stakeholder groups, needs to even further continue and expand this work.
In addition to those specific priorities, I feel it is critical for Austin to acquire as much land for conservation as our budget and bonding capacity can bear. Austin has taken on an ever greater and increasingly visible leadership environmental role among cities in Texas, the country, and internationally through the C40 Cities alliance and we have a responsibility to expand and elevate further this role. Adhering to the Mayors Compact – C40 Cities, the Under2 Coalition of international, subnational governments, and the Paris Climate Accords are top priorities and the above specific actions reflect that commitment. Our city is assuming this leadership role in other ways, too, and two examples would be our leadership role successfully competing for Bloomberg environmental grants and our recent electrification/equity project which received a best practice national award from the US Conf. of Mayors. Other cities look to Austin for best environmental practices and we must maintain and grow that role. We can and must do this because of the progressive, resilient, sustainable culture and mindset of the residents of our city. I do my best to help ensure these values are reflected in everything the city does.