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

New York: Albany Mayor Kathy Sheehan laid out a four-step process to grade potential projects and provide public oversight on how to spend $25 million in Rescue Plan funding. Priorities include public health response, supporting small businesses, tourism, community revitalization, and education.

Nevada: State Treasurer Zach Conine announced the start of open enrollment for the Nevada Prepaid Tuition Program, offering enrollees an account for a discounted enrollment fee of $0.01 until Dec. 31, alongside receiving a $100 deposit in a state-sponsored savings account. The prepaid Tuition Program has put more than 25,000 Nevada residents through college.

Missouri: Kansas City Mayor Quinton Lucas celebrated the success of resurfacing hundreds of lane miles of his city. The Mayor engaged closely with local residents to find and repair the most damaged streets of the city and worked to double the budget for public infrastructure. Lucas expects these renovations to prevent thousands of auto repair accidents while delivering on his promise to improve basic services in Kansas City.

Ohio: Dayton Mayor Nan Whaley provided support for a pilot program that changes the way police respond to emergency calls for help. The pilot program will be the first step in relocating police officer manpower away from mental health and de-escalation cases and towards policing priorities, leaving the former to mediation workers.

Ohio/Alabama: Columbus City Council President Shannon Hardin has launched the Columbus Promise to offer free tuition at Columbus State Community College for the next three classes of high school graduates from the Columbus City Schools, Ohio’s largest school district. The program will cover tuition and fees for up to six semesters, plus a scholarship of up to $1,000 per year for other expenses such as food and transportation. Also this week, Birmingham Mayor Randall Woodfin announced a $1.8 million grant for his Birmingham Promise initiative, creating an opportunity for Birmingham students to have a paid work experience and start building career skills that the mayor says will “last a lifetime.”

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.