Session VIII: Driving Change: Communities

Our local communities are where we experience life, including pandemics, economic crises, and climate impacts and… solutions to all of the above. State and local governments can support or hinder local solutions, but our mayors and city councils are where the local laws and resources make their way to people. Amidst it all, find out what communities are doing to drive climate ambition, restoration and justice.

Hon. Jackie Biskupski
35th Mayor
Salt Lake City, Utah

About Jackie:

Jackie Biskupski served as Salt Lake City Mayor from January 2016-2020. She served for 8 years in Salt Lake County Government administration and her political career also includes 13 years as a member of the Utah House of Representatives from 1998 to 2011, where she made history as the state’s first openly gay elected official. The Mayor’s top priorities included climate change, economic development, homelessness, air quality, affordable housing, transportation, and dissolving the school to prison pipeline. Her vision was to create an inclusive and welcoming city that fosters equity in opportunity for everyone. She also led the effort for Utah communities to obtain 100% renewable energy by 2030 through legislation and partnership. 24 communities in Utah are now on track to reach that goal. She has worked throughout her career to lift women up through two organizations she co-founded, Real Women Run and Utah Women in Law Enforcement. Both...
Hon. Jennifer Roberts
58th Mayor/Director, Path to Positive Communities
Charlotte, North Carolina

About Jennifer:

Jennifer Watson Roberts, the 58th Mayor of Charlotte, NC, has been a life-long champion of issues related to sustainability, education and equality. She is the first person to be elected to serve as both Chairman of the Mecklenburg County Commission and later as Mayor of Charlotte. While Chair of the Mecklenburg County Commission from 2006-2011, Roberts championed a Park and Recreation Master Plan, supported energy reduction and conservation in County operations, led the move to require new buildings be LEED certified, and headed a Clean Air Works initiative to reduce carbon emissions in area businesses and County operations. Under her leadership, Mecklenburg County first measured its carbon footprint and set annual reduction goals in line with the Paris Climate Accords. As Mayor of Charlotte, Roberts signed the Mayor’s Climate Pledge and became part of the Global Covenant of Mayors for Climate and Energy. She introduced a Sustainability Resolution for the...
Hon. Errick Simmons
Greenville, Mississippi

About Errick:

Mayor Errick D. Simmons began his career in municipal government in 2007. Before returning home to Greenville to start his municipal government career, Simmons graduated second in his class at T.L. Weston High School in 1995, second to his twin brother and law partner, Mississippi State Senator Derrick T. Simmons, who is the Senate Minority Leader for Democratic Party. Simmons later studied at Jackson State University, where he received a Bachelor in Business Administration in Economics in 2000. In 2002, he received a Master’s in Arts in Economics from Howard University Graduate School of Arts and Sciences and received his Juris Doctorate from Howard University School of Law in 2005. Currently, Simmons serves as a member of several local, state, and national boards and organizations, to name a few: President, Mississippi Delta Mayors Association, 1st Vice President of Mississippi Municipal League (MML) (will be sworn in as President in June...
Sarita Turner
Vice President, U.S. Programs
Institute for Sustainable Communities

About Sarita:

Sarita Turner is ISC’s Vice President for U.S. Programs. In this role, she oversees all of ISC’s U.S.-based programming. Sarita’s focus also includes strengthening equity and inclusion in ISC’s U.S. based programs, and she is a key leader on advancing equity and inclusion through all of ISC’s internal systems and practices. Sarita has deep experience working with community-based organizations, city government, and a broad array of institutional partners to advance equitable solutions to the barriers and challenges facing many communities. Prior to coming to ISC, she spent over seven years in various roles at Oakland-based PolicyLink, where she worked throughout the U.S. to advance data-driven, inclusive community and economic development practices, and also to advance equity focused policies to improve access to economic opportunity. While at PolicyLink, she managed the organization’s work in the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s $200 million Sustainable Communities Initiative. Prior to her work...