Eleven mayors from major Great Lakes and St. Lawrence cities are coming together to address water equity challenges as part of a new Mayors Water Equity Commission.

“Many residents throughout the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence River region lack access to clean and affordable drinking water,” said Sam Cunningham, mayor of Waukegan and chair of the new Water Equity Commission.

“While water equity challenges are particularly severe for poor communities and communities of colour, they are relevant for all citizens,” added Cunningham.

Members of the Commission include:

  • Mayor Sam Cunningham, Waukegan, IL (Commission Chair).
  • Mayor Lori E. Lightfoot, Chicago, IL.
    Mayor Mike Duggan, Detroit, MI.
  • Mayor Gino Moretti of Saint-Anicet, QC.
  • Mayor Jerome Prince, Gary, IN.
  • Mayor Tom Barrett, Milwaukee, WI.
  • Mayor Valerie Plante, Montreal, QC.
  • Mayor Wade Kapszukiewicz, Toledo, OH.
  • Mayor Billy McKinney – Zion, IL.

“As I’ve said since day one as Mayor, water is a fundamental human right,” said Chicago Mayor Lori E. Lightfoot. “Unfortunately, many communities have faced challenges in accessing safe, clean and affordable water. It is my hope that this group of Mayors can help in changing that.”

The Commission will convene in December to address a range of water equity issues, including access, affordability, community and economic benefits from water infrastructure investments, and community resilience to climate change.

“As a water-centric city, Milwaukee is structuring water equity through creating an inclusive workforce in water-focused careers,” said Mayor Tom Barrett. “Advancing equity in our water workforce will ensure economic, environmental, and social benefits that will result in enhanced water stewardship.”

In early 2021 the Commission will conduct stakeholder listening sessions and policy briefings, and explore collaborative partnerships. The Commission will then present to the entire Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Cities Initiative membership at the annual meeting in May, outlining issues and proposed solutions to water equity challenges.

“We look forward to working with these Mayors as we address these critical water equity issues,” said Mike Vandersteen, mayor of Sheboygan, Wisconsin and chair of the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Cities Initiative.


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