State & Local Policy

Varsity Hall III
2:30 – 3:45 p.m.  |  Breakout Session 3B

Tackling the climate crisis will require action at all levels of government. Cities and states across the U.S. are setting increasingly ambitious climate goals. Panelists discussed the state of climate policy in Wisconsin and opportunities for the future.

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Key Takeaways

  • The city of Milwaukee can be a model for change at the state level. Milwaukee has moved towards green infrastructure, moved to reduce emissions, focused on energy efficiency, and brought together the experts from many different disciplines (academia, utilities, and renewable energy) to address climate change and improve communities. 
  • Reducing upfront costs to consumers will lead to deeper political support for renewable energy policies. A large barrier to renewable energy is the high cost to consumers, which leads to a continued reliance on fossil fuels. 
  • Jobs must be central in state and local policy related to climate change and green technology. What are the tangible benefits? How many jobs will be created? Are there equitable jobs?
  • New policy should focus on equitable outcomes. Ensuring that certain neighborhoods are not exposed to emissions at a higher rate or face more health issues due to climate change.


August Ball

Credentials: Panelist, State & Local Policy

Position title: Founder, Cream City Conservation

August M. Ball founded Cream City Conservation, a two-pronged social enterprise in Milwaukee, in 2016. She helps organizations attract and retain top talent from diverse candidate pools, making their workforce stronger and their programs more…

Mandela Barnes

Credentials: Moderator, State & Local Policy

Position title: Lieutenant Governor, State of Wisconsin

Mandela Barnes is the first African American to serve as lieutenant governor of Wisconsin, and the second African American elected to statewide office. Born and raised in Milwaukee, Barnes is the son of a public school teacher and a manufacturing assembly line…

Pamela Ritger

Credentials: Panelist, State and Local Policy

Position title: Milwaukee Program Director & Staff Attorney, Clean Wisconsin

As Milwaukee program director, Ritger works on climate change adaptation and resilience efforts in underserved neighborhoods utilizing green stormwater infrastructure practices. In 2019, she was appointed to the Milwaukee City-County Task Force on Climate and…

Erick Shambarger

Credentials: Panelist, State & Local Policy

Position title: Director of Environmental Sustainability for the City of Milwaukee

Erick Shambarger leads Milwaukee’s Environmental Collaboration Office (ECO), which Mayor Tom Barrett created to develop practical solutions that benefit the city’s environment and economy. He is the project manager for Milwaukee’s forthcoming Climate and Equity…