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

Kentucky: Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer proposed a plan for distributing the city’s first round of funding from the American Rescue Plan, with 10 percent allocated  to the city’s most urgent needs, including the COVID-19 response, vulnerable resident stabilization, and economic recovery. Remaining funds would support the city’s Build Back Better initiative as well as his initiative on Advancing Racial Equity; A Path Forward.


Colorado: The legislature has approved legislation sponsored by Senator Chris Hansen to require gas utility companies to create clean heat plans to reduce the greenhouse gas emissions associated with providing fuel to homes and businesses. His bill now heads to the governor’s desk.

Maine: House Speaker Ryan Fecteau successfully passed his voting access bill through the state house. The Act to Establish Ongoing Absentee Voting would allow the automatic mailing of absentee ballots to people over the age of 60 and people with disabilities after they request one for the first time, rather than requiring voters to request an absentee ballot for every election. 

Utah: Salt Lake City Mayor Erin Mendenhall announced a change to the city’s healthcare coverage to include gender-affirming surgery. As states throughout the U.S. move to restrict access to gender-affirming healthcare, the city’s new policy will include this crucial coverage for all employees and eligible independents.

Missouri: Kansas City Mayor Quinton Lucas’s zero-fare bus program anticipates soon receiving federal funding. A total of $10.5 million in federal funding from the Resilient Repairs Act has been requested to purchase the zero-fare buses and is part of a larger plan to future-proof Kansas City’s infrastructure investments.


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.