2/1/21 West Lafayette Mayor John Dennis

West Lafayette Mayor John Dennis at a City Council meeting Feb 1.

The West Lafayette City Council unanimously voted to declare a climate emergency in West Lafayette and to call on Congress to pass "Medicare for All" on Monday.

"This is easily the easiest vote I’ll take on the city council,” Councilor Nick DeBoer said on the healthcare resolution.

The resolution, while mostly symbolic, has been pushed by activist groups since the start of the pandemic. Following other cities like Bloomington and South Bend, activists hoped to pressure West Lafayette to join them and implore Congress to pass "Medicare for All."

The council acknowledged the activist groups and constituents who had sent stories and calls of support for this resolution.

"Many of these stories hurt to listen to," Councilor Gerald Thomas said. "Healthcare should be a right not a privilege, everyone should have a right to healthcare in this country."

Activist groups also pushed for several green resolutions including one that would declare a climate emergency in West Lafayette. Like the health-care resolution, it’s a symbolic gesture that aims to pressure other cities around the state to enact their own environmental reforms. West Lafayette itself has already joined the Climate Mayors network and passed a carbon neutrality goal for 2038.

"With this amendment we add our voice to the voices of other cities which are trying to make it clear to our citizens that this is of the moment and that this cannot be postponed much longer,” Council President Peter Bunder said.

Coupled with the climate legislation, the city council also passed bills classifying solar panels as accessories for housing allowing homeowners to build solar panels. Additionally the council passed a bill allowing any institution, private or public, to engage in large-scale energy production through community-scale solar arrays.

Despite some tech problems in the beginning of the evening, there was fervor among the activists watching the meeting Monday night. Many used the Webex emoji feature to show excitement as the council members voiced their support for the Medicare resolution.

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