I believe that our elected officials have an obligation to be good stewards of our natural and built environments and to leave our city in better condition than we found it. I have worked hard with local environmental and sustainability focused groups and residents to find ways to make Naperville a greener and more sustainable community, including:
- Adopting the Naperville Environment and Sustainability Task Force’s Sustainable Naperville 2036 plan.
- Proposing and implementing changes to our Renewable Energy Program. I spoke frequently during my first campaign four years ago about the need to expand our Renewable Energy Program to include grants for residential solar installations, and shortly after taking office, I worked with the rest of Council to get that done. Since the change was made, participants in the Renewable Energy Program are now eligible for grants from the city (funded by voluntary contributions to the Renewable Energy Program) for installing residential solar arrays, and installation of those residential solar arrays has increased substantially over the past few years.
- Encouraging city staff to replace retired vehicles with electric vehicles that will be better for the environment and will save the city money on fuel and maintenance. The proposed 2023 budget contemplates 33% of our new vehicles being replaced with electric/hybrid vehicles. I will continue to push for that percentage to increase, as a broader array of electric alternatives come to market.
- The proposed 2023 budget includes line items to expand the already successful electric lawn equipment rebate program and to conduct a Greenhouse Gas Emissions Inventory to provide a baseline of Naperville’s emissions and to help better inform potential changes moving forward.
- The single most important area of focus for me is Naperville’s complex relationship with the Illinois Municipal Electric Agency and the Prairie State Energy Campus. As the nationwide energy landscape evolves, there may be difficult questions to be answered in the next few years regarding a potential renewal of Naperville’s existing contract with IMEA and/or whether Prairie State should pursue a carbon capture project that might extend the life of the coal-based power plant. I will approach any such questions with a focus on reducing Naperville’s carbon footprint while also maintaining the reasonable rates and excellent service that our residents have come to expect from our city-owned electric utility department.