I am very excited about the new Health, Environment and Community Engagement committee that I will be chairing this term. The Committee is roughly based on the Health Energy and Environment Committee I vice chaired my first term. I also vice chairs both the Publ and a Health Energy and Regulatory Services Committee I vice chaired my second term.
Joining me on the committee will be Council Members Andrew Johnson (who will vice chair), Lisa Bender, Alondra Cano, Jacob Frey and Elizabeth Glidden.
This term, the committee will oversee the work of a strengthened and larger Health Department which took on some functions from the Regulatory Services restructuring the Council did last year. The key components of the Health department include:
- Food Safety, Lodging and Pools
- Healthy and Safe Children and Youth
- Healthy Sexuality
- Healthy Seniors
- Environmental Services
- Healthy Homes and Lead Control
- Healthy Living
- Public Health emergency preparedness.
The Health Department has been supported in recent years by state and federal grants including the State Health Improvement Program, Communities Putting Prevention to Work, and the Community Transformation Grant. These programs focus on policy, systems and environmental change to reduce obesity, increase physical activity, and reduce tobacco use. The department has also been the lead on the our Youth Violence Prevention work that I have been closely involved in since 2006.
The HECE Committee will also be the Council's home for policies related to the environment. A major part of that work this year will be on the priorities established from the Climate Action Plan and the Energy Pathways Study which will help us move towards more sustainable, affordable and reliable energy from our energy utilities. This will also include the ongoing work of the Homegrown Minneapolis initiative and the Minneapolis Food Council, and all other environmental sustainability issues. For example, I expect that the HECE committee will consider formal City comments on the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency's proposed rules on composting.
We will also lead the Council's community engagement work, including the Neighborhood and Community Relations Department and the Neighborhood and Community Engagement Commission.
Finally, we will be the home committee for Animal Care and Control.
Several City boards and commissions will report to the HECE committee: the Community Environmental Advisory Commission (CEAC), the Public Health Advisory Committee, the Neighborhood and Community Engagement Commission, the Minneapolis Food Council, the Animal Care and Control Advisory Board, the Minneapolis Commission on People with Disabilities, the Minneapolis Tree Advisory Commission, the Senior Citizen Advisory Committee, the Youth Violence Prevention Executive Committee and the Youth Coordinating Board.
The new committee has already gotten some well-deserved media attention
. I am extremely excited by the enthusiasm of the members of this new committee, and look forward to working with them to make Minneapolis healthier, more sustainable, and more democratically engaged.
To start that work, I am meeting one-on-one with each of the new committee members and have scheduled a meeting for early February with all of the relevant department and division heads to begin developing a common vision for our next four years of work together.