“We must embrace ways to help New Jersey communities deal with these problems and learn to prevent future damage caused by climate change and extreme weather,” said Ramos. “President Obama’s plan is a sound one.”
The plan, which Obama announced in June, would take major steps to reduce carbon emissions from power plants, amongst other measures.
Ramos discussed legislation in Trenton that he has sponsored or worked on, including those dealing with green infrastructure improvements, grant money for hazard mitigation, green roofs, and incentives for developers who want to use green technology in their projects.
Ramos will face off against incumbent Mayor Dawn Zimmer in a November mayoral election in which the city’s recovery from Hurricane Sandy is likely to be a central issue. Zimmer gained national notoriety the storm’s aftermath, but Ramos has been critical of what he called “failed leadership."
On Tuesday, Ramos refrained from criticizing the mayor personally. He said protecting Hoboken from future weather disasters would be a centerpiece of his campaign.
“It’s up to those of us at the local level to stand up in support of efforts at the national level that will help our communities here at home,” he said. “A lot of the things are in the president’s plan are things Hoboken should have done a long time ago. We’ll make them happen when I’m mayor.”
Ramos was joined at the press conference by Jeff Tittel, the director of the New Jersey chapter of the Sierra Club and 4th Ward City Councilman Tim Occhipinti (a Zimmer critic), who both applauded the president’s plan and urged for leadership at the local level that would complement leadership in Washington.
“When I met with the President on May 28 in Asbury Park, he said a climate initiative was coming soon and he kept his word,” said Tittel. “The President is showing his personal leadership on climate change, and we need to stand with him. This is not only about the environment, it is about growing our economy and providing clean energy jobs.”
The Sierra Club was critical of Zimmer in February, after she announced in her State of the City Address in February that Hoboken would pursue a plan to build flood walls around portions of the city.
Tittel said on Tuesday that the organization would likely not offer an endorsement in the mayoral race, despite appearing at the press conference with Ramos.
“We’re not here because we’re looking to get involved in local political races, but we are here because Assemblyman Ramos has been a key legislator on climate change and because he supports the president’s plan,” said Tittel.
Look for more about this story, and responses from other officials, in the next edition of The Hoboken Reporter. – Dean DeChiaro