UPDATED: When originally published Friday afternoon, this post had the wrong copy assigned to Sam Matier’s answer. It has been updated with the correct response.
Last month, we asked our readers what issues they wanted to hear the candidates running for local office address ahead of the August primary. Based on the (ample) input we received, we developed a five-item questionnaire for candidates running for city council in Merriam.
Today we share the candidates’ responses to question number five:
The Metro KC Climate Action Coalition has organized to bring local elected officials together to discuss steps city and county governments can take to address climate change. Do you believe local government has a role to play in reducing greenhouse gas emissions and addressing other environmental issues? If so, what steps would you like to see the city take?
City Council Ward 4
Bob Pape (incumbent)
I applaud the efforts of KC Climate Action Coalition to bring County and City governments together to discuss steps which we can take to address climate change. As a society, we all have a role in reducing greenhouse gas emissions and being environmentally responsible. Roeland Park has taken the lead in the KC Metro area. They received a $10,000 grant from the National League of Cities (NLC) to host a summit in September of this year that will bring local officials together to discuss strategies to address climate change. I plan to attend this summit to see how we in Merriam can effectuate change at the local level. The Coalition has the following goals: Draft a regional Climate Action Plan; Develop annual legislative platforms; Create a policy playbook for local elected leaders; and facilitate an annual Climate Action Summit. We need to do what we can to get State and Federal government involved as well. Some of the largest changes in the world have begun at a grass roots level. This is not an issue that starts and stops at City boundaries and it is not something that any individual city can solve on its own. It will take each and every citizen to become informed and do their part to reduce our carbon footprint.
I believe that local government has to be a catalyst to help their citizens understand what they can do to help reduce greenhouse gas emissions and other measures to be more environmentally conscious. Merriam has already taken the first step by joining the Metro KC Climate Action Coalition and bringing council member Al Frisby to the table as the representative of our city. It will be very interesting to see the progression of this coalition once the Climate Action Plan is completed in late 2020 and how they plan to implement this plan throughout the metro. In the short term, I would love to see the city get more involved in environmental issues by expanding on the Exterior Home Grant to help homeowners start to employ greener and less expensive ways of running their homes.
City Council Ward 1
Jason Silvers (incumbent)
Of course, I believe local government plays a role in reducing greenhouse gas emissions but I also know it’s difficult to change national policies from the bottom up. At the city level, I believe incentives for reducing greenhouse gases are better than policies or laws. I think the city of Merriam could start by teaming up with a solar panel company to provide low-cost solar energy systems to residents. Also, the city of Merriam could leverage its relationship with local car dealers to provide residents of Merriam with a discount or rebate on electric or hybrid vehicles.
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