LOMBARD, IL — During the final session of its “Virtual” Annual Meeting on October 9, the binational, nonpartisan Great Lakes-St. Lawrence Legislative Caucus elected Minnesota Representative Jennifer Schultz to the position of Caucus Vice Chair in 2021-22. Representative Schultz has been Minnesota’s representative on the GLLC’s Executive Committee since 2015 and she serves on the Caucus’s Task Force on Lead. She has authored several resolutions, supported by the GLLC, on emerging contaminants of concern, non-ferrous mining, and advocacy for funding the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative.
“I’m honored to take on this new role collaborating with legislators from surrounding states and provinces to secure a sustainable future for our precious Great Lakes, and am thrilled to continue working with Representative Robyn Gabel, new GLLC chair,” Representative Schultz said. “There are numerous problems we must solve to protect our ecosystems in Lake Superior and east across the St. Lawrence Seaway to strengthen communities like Duluth which depend on clean water resources for tourism, recreation, and commerce.”
Illinois Representative Robyn Gabel was elected as Chair. The Caucus also elected members to serve on the GLLC Executive Committee. All eight states (Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio, Pennsylvania, New York and Wisconsin) and two Canadian provinces (Ontario and Québec) in the Great Lakes-St. Lawrence basin are represented on the Executive Committee.
Representative Schultz will work with Representative Gabel and the GLLC Executive Committee to direct the Caucus’s activities over the next two years. The policy agenda adopted by the Caucus in 2018, in Erie, PA, focuses the organization’s work on water consumption, aquatic invasive species, toxic substances, nutrient pollution, and coastal communities. Specific objectives include assuring the availability of safe, clean, affordable drinking water; encouraging infrastructure improvements to reduce nutrient runoff, including the installation of green infrastructure; and supporting the sustainable economic development of Great Lakes and St. Lawrence coastal communities, including the restoration and preservation of habitat.
Through its mix of programming, advocacy, and other activities, the Caucus provides a forum for the regional exchange of ideas and information on key issues that impact the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence River. Membership in the nonpartisan caucus is open to all state and provincial legislators in the eight states and two provinces that share the Great Lakes-St. Lawrence basin.
In 2020, the GLLC’s two task forces, both born of the Patricia Birkholz Institute for Great Lakes-St. Lawrence Policy, focused on reducing exposure to lead in drinking water and the ongoing problem of nutrient pollution. In 2021, the Institute’s focus will be helping communities become climate resilient; the 2021 Birkholz Institute will take place in the fall.
The Council of State Governments Midwestern Office supports and provides staffing services for the Caucus, which is funded in part by grants from The Joyce Foundation, the Fred A. and Barbara M. Erb Family Foundation, and the Charles Stewart Mott Foundation. CSG is a nonprofit, nonpartisan association serving all three branches of state government. As part of its services for GLLC members, CSG Midwest maintains a legislative tracker, available at www.greatlakeslegislators.org, that monitors bills being considered in state and provincial capitols. For more information about the Caucus or the 2020 Annual Meeting, please contact Lisa Janairo at email@example.com or 920.458.5910, or visit www.greatlakeslegislators.org.