2021 is a call to action.

2020 presented us with unprecedented challenges all at once — the pandemic and resulting economic recession, a historic assault on our democracy and the long overdue recognition of the need to address racial inequality in our country.  President Biden has pledged to “build back better”, and we agree that we must create a path forward that is not a return to a pre-COVID normal, but that unites us and works better for everyone. Such an urgent and ambitious goal will require a true partnership between federal, state and local elected leaders, and over the next four years, the NewDEAL pledges to promote state and local ideas that will help us build back better, with a special emphasis on addressing long-standing racial inequities. Check this page frequently for new policy recommendations and upcoming programming.

We must build back better.

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This week’s five stories on Building Back Better in the States

Virginia: Richmond Mayor Levar Stoney delivered to City Council a plan to spend $155 million in American Rescue Plan funds, which reflects feedback from nearly 2,000 citizens who responded to a city survey. Priority areas include investments in parks and community centers, improved child care options, a $5 million Health Equity Fund, affordable housing construction, and public safety initiatives, such as gun violence prevention, first responder hazard pay, and enhanced street lighting and cameras.

Arizona: Phoenix Mayor Kate Gallego announced the establishment of a Heat Response & Mitigation Office. The Mayor said the new department, which is the first of its kind in the nation, will “work across city departments and with external partners to build the vision of a cooler, more sustainable Phoenix,” and will develop and implement tangible, innovative solutions to promote the city’s health and livability.

Alabama: Birmingham Mayor Randall Woodfin has committed to a goal of at least $100 million in public spending with minority-, women-owned businesses and other DBEs (disadvantaged business enterprises) by 2025. To reach that goal, the mayor emphasized “aggressive implementation and enforcement of spending requirements in order for businesses to qualify for tax incentives – particularly in the construction industry where more than $1 billion in projects is expected to be completed within the next few years.”

California: The Assembly has approved major recycling legislation authored by Senator Ben Allen, who chairs the Environmental Quality Committee. The bill, which heads to the Governor’s desk, would reduce recycling contamination and mitigate customer confusion, especially with regard to plastics. The National Stewardship Action Council applauded the legislation as a precedent for “other states and the nation to end deceptive recycling labeling practices across the U.S.”

Missouri: St. Louis Mayor Tishaura Jones outlined a new initiative aimed at cutting down crime in the downtown area, which includes adding 30 police officers.

Tracking the Recovery database

Explore our new database of ways NewDEALers around the country are using stimulus funds to build back better and speed up the recovery as we emerge from the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Equity Initiative

Hear from NewDEALers on how they’re tackling systemic injustice, and how they’re working to ensure we address discrimination at the core of our institutions in this historic time of disruption.

Past Events

Build Back Better: Climate Change & Public Health

April 13, 2021

with speakers Terry Tamminen, former Secretary of the California Environmental Protection Agency; Dr. Mustafa Santiago Ali, Vice President of Environmental Justice, Climate, and Community Revitalization for the National Wildlife Federation; and NewDEAL Leaders Wisconsin Lt. Governor Mandela Barnes and Norfolk, VA Councilmember Andria McClellan

Build Back Better: Fighting COVID through Vaccination

March 9, 2021

with featured speakers NewDEAL Leaders Long Beach, CA Mayor Robert Garcia and Maryland Senate President Bill Ferguson, and contributions from other NewDEAL Leaders from around the country

Build Back Better: What’s in Store in 2021

February 18, 2021

with speakers Congressman Scott Peters, New Democrat Coalition Vice Chair of Policy; Oregon Treasurer Tobias Read; Shelby County, TN Mayor Lee Harris; Phoenix Mayor Kate Gallego; and Zach Butterworth, White House Office of Public Engagement.