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Iowa Cities and Counties Embrace Sustainability

map of Iowa communities (1)

Across the country, in communities of all shapes and sizes, local governments are using the STAR Community Rating System to set goals, measure progress, and improve their communities.

One hub of activity is the state of Iowa, where 3 communities have achieved a STAR Community Rating® and 5 others are well on their way, using the STAR framework to support data-driven decision making at the local level.

As the nation’s eyes turn towards Iowa in the days leading up to the first Presidential caucus of 2016, we thought we would feature two of Iowa’s leading mayors and learn more about why they have prioritized economic, social and environmental sustainability in their communities.

We encourage the candidates from both parties to tune in and address how their administrations will support cities and counties in their pursuit of livability, sustainability and resilience.


Cownie135Mayor T.M. Franklin Cownie 
Des Moines, IA, Certified 3-STAR Community  

“Des Moines residents value the overall health and wellbeing of their community, environmentally, socially, and economically. As Mayor, I want to make sure we preserve and enhance what makes Des Moines great for future generations. I think the State of Iowa is a close knit state that has a similar set of common values whether you are living in a rural or urban environment. Tracking progress is a way for local governments to be transparent with their communities, it also helps keep our communities connected on issues of high importance such as water quality and social equity.”

Buol Hi-Res_LG

Mayor Roy D. Buol Dubuque, IA, Certified 4-STAR Community 

“Sustainability, for Dubuque, is a holistic approach to quality of life that creates a viable, livable, and equitable community for all. It preserves our historic roots and creates an opportunity for innovation in our future… Our greatest community successes are a result of local leadership and public-private partnerships, and they cannot happen without national support…Climate change is often thought of as a coastal, or big city, issue. Iowa communities understand that climate change will impact the Midwest, most notably with regard to water quality and quantity issues. Frequent rain events put our most vulnerable populations at risk, and Iowa’s agriculture and food production practices play a tremendous role in the nation’s water quality. Iowa cities like Dubuque are stepping up to implement sustainability best practices, and are using STAR as a valuable tool to hold ourselves accountable for the goals we set.”

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