Skip to content

The Rise of the Local Climate Candidate

As the effects of climate change become more severe, local officials like Boston Mayor Michelle Wu are spotlighting environmental issues and solutions — and winning. 

Mayor Michelle Wu arrives at Boston City Hall on November 17, 2021. In her campaign, she emphasized climate-related issues and solutions.  

Mayor Michelle Wu arrives at Boston City Hall on November 17, 2021. In her campaign, she emphasized climate-related issues and solutions.  

Photographer: Craig F. Walker/The Boston Globe via Getty Images

Updated on

When Richie Floyd, a science teacher and community organizer, ran for and won a seat on the St. Petersburg City Council earlier this month, he became the first democratic socialist elected to office in the state of Florida in a century. A political newcomer, Floyd built a campaign around several issues, including housing and the wealth gap, but in his messaging, he made sure to highlight the environment. 

“We’re focusing on making sure the city is meeting its climate goals,” Floyd said in one video. His platform included a pledge to “aggressively” transition the city to 100% renewable energy and upgrade the city’s sewage system to curb the pollution that contributed to the fish-killing red tides that frequently afflict Tampa Bay.