The Environmental League of Massachusetts Action Fund announced today its endorsement of Joe Petty in his bid for re-election as mayor of Worcester, due to his proven track record of leadership on environmental issues and his commitment to making Worcester a more sustainable community.
Over the past six years, Petty has overseen the ongoing renaissance of Worcester into a vibrant, growing and increasingly livable mid-size city, all the while keeping the city focused on its responsibility to sustainability and environmental innovation.
Under Petty’s leadership, Worcester has become home to New England’s largest municipally owned solar energy farm, has invested heavily in energy efficiency upgrades to public buildings, made large investments in city parks and undertaken a program to analyze and improve the area’s ponds and lakes.
“We appreciate Mayor Joe Petty’s leadership in increasing Worcester’s emphasis on sustainable energy sources and his commitment to making good environmental policy part of the city’s growth in opportunity and job creation,” said ELM Action Fund President Elizabeth Henry.
“As one of the first mayors in the state of Massachusetts to commit their city to the Paris climate goals after President Trump pulled out of the international agreement, Joe Petty has proven that he is on the right side of the effort to save the planet for our children,” continued Henry. “It’s clear after Trump’s withdrawal that states and municipalities are going to be the ones leading the way on reducing dependence on fossil fuels and addressing the challenges of climate change. Joe Petty is a great example of the kind of forward-thinking local leadership that we need.”
Joe Petty is a practical leader. In August, the city officially connected the municipal power grid to an 8.1 megawatt, 28,600-panel solar farm created on 25 acres of the former Greenwood Street landfill. The $27 million project is expected to save the city $60 million over the next 30 years.
“This makes good environmental sense and good fiscal sense,” said Petty at the ribbon cutting ceremony at the former landfill. “This is a good investment that is good for the environment.”
Petty has led the city’s efforts to make municipal buildings more energy efficient with the investment of $26.6 million in upgrades, including the installation of solar panels on eight schools. He has also initiated a comprehensive plan to address the presence of the toxic chemical PCB in some public schools.
Under Petty, Worcester is also transforming all of its 14,400 streetlights to LED lighting that will dramatically reduce energy usage, save money and provide better service.
In June, the city kicked off its Lakes and Ponds Program, aimed at improving the questionable health of Worcester’s network of waterways to make them available for swimming and recreational use, and the resulting economic opportunity.
Petty has embraced and is an enthusiastic leader and participant in the city’s comprehensive environmental program known as “A Greener Future, Today” that very specifically addresses sustainability and climate change.
With the environment under assault in Washington, the ELM Action Fund has launched a new campaign to endorse candidates for local governments who are actively addressing the issues posed by climate change, and who are able to see the challenge as opportunity for growth rather than obstacles to development.
Worcester is a perfect example of a community that recognizes sound environmental policy can make a community more livable, create jobs and save communities money. Leaders like Joe Petty are putting Massachusetts at the forefront of enacting policy, generating action and opportunity, and increasing awareness about the challenges of climate change.
Petty is a lifelong Worcester resident and knows its strengths and challenges. He is a graduate of Holy Name Central Catholic High School and received a BS in Business Administration from Nichols College and a law degree from New England School of Law, Boston. He served two six-year terms on the Worcester City Council starting in 1997. He is married with three children. For more information about his campaign, go to www.josephpetty.com.
The ELM Action Fund is a nonpartisan organization that helps pass laws that protect our environmental legacy, holds our elected officials accountable, and works to build the political power of the environmental community. To learn more about our work and our recent electoral victories go to www.elmaction.org/campaigns.