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Illinois Leaders Fight Trump Policies at Conference of Mayors

The U.S. Conference of Mayors agreed this weekend to buy and support more renewable energy and pursue climate goals despite federal withdrawal from the Paris Accords. (cleanenergy.org)
The U.S. Conference of Mayors agreed this weekend to buy and support more renewable energy and pursue climate goals despite federal withdrawal from the Paris Accords. (cleanenergy.org)
June 26, 2017

EVANSTON, Ill. -- Hundreds of mayors representing cities in Illinois and across the nation tackled big issues like climate change, jobs, immigration and health care at the 85th annual U.S. Conference of Mayors, which wraps up Monday in Miami Beach, Fla.

The biggest issue at the conference has been climate change, with the leaders vowing to limit their cities' carbon emissions, despite President Donald Trump's decision to pull the U.S. out of the Paris Accords.

Mayor Stephen Hagerty of Evanston said his city council just signed a three year contract to purchase renewable energy.

"Regardless of what we're doing at a federal level, the cities have a lot of control over helping us reduce that carbon footprint - from pushing renewable energies to figuring out better modes of transportation, and reducing energy that way,” Hagerty said.

The mayors also discussed municipal policies on immigration, such as whether local police must inform federal immigration agents when undocumented people are picked up for minor violations. They heard from the Secretary of Labor about matching applicants to the 6 million jobs that are unfilled right now in the U.S. And they analyzed the impact of the large cuts to Medicaid proposed in the GOP health care plan, which may be headed for a vote this week.

Hagerty said the mayors also looked at President Trump's proposed budget, which would kill the $3 billion Community Development Block Grant program and zero out $300 million in funding for the Great Lakes Restoration project. He said many aren't happy with the recommendations.

"Mayors have to get the job done,” he said. "And so, when we see funding being proposed to be taken away at the federal level, yes I think there's general consensus that we need to push back and fight for residents every day."

On this last day of the conference, the mayors are expected to vote on and release a series of policy goals, and hear the new president of the Conference of Mayors, Mitch Landrieu of New Orleans, lay out an agenda for the coming year.

Suzanne Potter, Public News Service - IL