Municipalities Matter

Municipalities Matter

Municipalities Matter

Municipalities Matter: Leadership Matters Most

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Municipalities Matter

Leadership Matters Most

Inspiration PhotoIt was such a delight to see so many of you at our recently concluded annual conference. It was another record-breaking, successful event. Thanks to so many of you who attended, from all four corners of our great state. 

If you attended, I encourage you to complete an evaluation. This will help us plan for next year’s conference June 19-22 in Vail. 

If you were not able to attend, many of the conference materials are posted on our wonderful website, which I hope you have bookmarked. 

There were two things at the conference which truly energized me:  

 

 

One session focused on climate change and how communities are coping with the issue. The session was packed with municipal leaders from across the state. A question was posed by one of the presenters: How many of you feel climate change is an issue your city or town should be addressing? Every hand in the room went up as near as I could tell.  

In another session, we heard from Craig Mayor John Ponikvar, one of our new mayors, who participated in a session addressing the changing nature of our rural economies based upon some important research conducted by the Leeds Business School at the University of Colorado - Boulder. It was a riveting panel. Mayor Ponikvar acknowledged the changes happening in Craig and discussed how elected leaders can adapt. A terrific session. 

I was not only inspired, but proud CML can be the “go-to” organization bringing local leaders together to explore complex challenges and treat them as wonderful opportunities that can be discussed in a respectful and insightful manner. Inspiring indeed! 

Gov. John Hickenlooper spoke to us, and gave a full throttled endorsement of our beloved state’s potential to do much more in the area of climate change while continuing to grow Colorado jobs and without increasing consumer costs. He is concerned about climate change, I am concerned about climate change, and I have a feeling many of you are, as well. The governor talked about how the state and municipal leaders can work together as partners in this policy arena. 

Earlier this week, Gov. Hickenlooper released an Executive Order on this issue. Three things from the order resonate with me:  

 

  • Developing a statewide electric vehicle plan. A number of cities and towns are facilitating local electric chargers. The state has been an active participant in promoting this. It makes good sense.  
  • Encouraging a robust partnership between the state and municipalities on local-led climate resilience actions. An exchange of best practices across the state is one way to accomplish this with state facilitation.  
  • Working with local leaders from communities especially impacted by the changing energy landscape. I consider this the governor’s most important recommendation. No community should feel left behind, and their desires should be acknowledged, respected, and supported.  

 

There are a number of municipal leaders already jumping in with both feet on the issue. I want to recognize the recent efforts of Aspen Mayor Steve Skadron with the Compact of Colorado Communities Conference; Colorado Climate Network (co-convened by the League and the Rocky Mountain Climate Organization, of which I am a board member); and, finally, the Colorado Communities for Climate Action, an advocacy organization of county and municipal officials. 

I would like to know how many of you would be interested in exploring ways to partner with the state on the topic of climate change, sustainability, and resiliency.  

If we pursue a state partnership on this issue, what do you think it should look like? Send me an email or give me a shout at the office (303-831-6411 or 866-578-0936). 

I don’t know where this might take us, and I am respectful of the various viewpoints that are out there.  

I do know this, all of you are problem solvers, and I think this is one in which we can make a difference, both individually as well as collectively.  

I will keep you posted. 

Go Rockies and enjoy the rest of the summer!