Candidates talk about their environmental plans for Lincoln

LINCOLN, Neb. (KLKN) – Candidates for Lincoln city offices discussed sustainability issues at a forum on Thursday.

Mayor Leirion Gaylor Baird and City Councilman James Michael Bowers were in attendance, as well as several other candidates for the city council.

The topic covered most was water, from flooding to conservation.

“We’ve taken a recent big step with flood plain protections,” Gaylor Baird said. “We are strengthening and expanding our wellfields and water resources. We have conservation protocols in place, including emergency drought protocols.”

She emphasized the importance of the $1.4 billion project to tap the Missouri River for a second water source for the city, calling it “a huge boost for our community’s resiliency and growth and vitality into the future.”

State Sen. Suzanne Geist, also running for mayor, was not in attendance.

When asked, Geist did not provide any specific environmental plans but gave Channel 8 a statement about what her priorities would be as mayor.

“I will work with Lincolnites across all backgrounds where every voice is heard,” Geist said. “My priorities include improving public safety, fostering a competitive pro-business climate, expanding employment opportunities, responsibly managing city resources, improving our roads, and working with community stakeholders to address the affordable housing crisis.”

Gaylor Baird also weighed in carbon emissions in the city and how electric vehicles could play a part in the future.

“We’re partnering with (Lincoln Electric System) as part of our Climate Smart Collaborative to come up with an EV readiness plan so that we have EV infrastructure in place so that people can utilize transportation that is carbon-free,” she said.

Stan Parker, another mayoral candidate not in attendance, sent Channel 8 a statement on the topic, saying in part:

“A workable sustainability plan will involve individuals from many sectors of business and the community, innovating and developing solutions that will have an overall positive impact on our environment now and into the future and be doable for our citizens. For example, while 100% agreeing with the wisdom of reducing our carbon footprint, it must be balanced with our ability to have the power needed available and affordable for all.”

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