Did you know that this was our last week with Rethos’ amazing Administrative Manager, Riley Gage? ☹ And that Riley is moving on from Rethos because she received a full ride (!!) and a Forte Fellowship (!!!) to pursue her M.B.A. at the University of Minnesota Carlson School? (Woot!) And that while she was with us, Riley also served as our Policy Associate, focusing her efforts on our sustainability advocacy, including our partnership with GreenSteps Cities and Tribal Nations?
Riley monitored preservation-aligned environmental and energy bills during the 2022 Legislative session, including SF4024/HF3897, a bill introduced by Sen. Jason Rarick (R, Pine City) and Rep. Athena Hollins (DFL, St. Paul) that would provide funding assistance to upgrade electrical panels in single- and multi-family residences. By their very nature, these upgrades would be of benefit to old homes with aging and deteriorating electrical systems. As was explained by testifiers when Rep. Hollins presented the bill in committee, these are solid homes that need upgrades to remain affordable to their residents while reducing the impacts of carbon fuels on the health of the residents and the overall climate.
Riley wrote the following letter to Sen. Rarick in March, 2022:
Dear Senator Rarick:
I am writing on behalf of the Rethos Policy Institute to express support for a bill that you have introduced and that has been referred to the Energy and Utilities Finance and Policy Committee: SF4024, which establishes a grant program for residential electrical panel replacement.
Rethos is a non-profit organization that believes reusing and rehabbing old buildings is a sustainable, environmentally conscious practice. We work to reduce energy use in old homes, encourage salvage and material reuse wherever possible, and promote reuse-friendly policies, aligning with our unique grassroots approach to reimagining places. We were pleased to learn that these are issues that you support as well.
Rethos runs an Education Program that provides resources and classes that help people maintain and rehabilitate old buildings, reducing reliance on new, replacement materials. We host classes such as Why Old Is Green, Keeping the Weather Out: Homeowner How-Tos, Understanding Deconstruction & Salvage, and Feeling Frayed? Updating Old Electrical. Beyond the catchy titles, these classes and hands-on workshops give people the practical information they need to take care of the places they love.
Through our programs, we help families to invest in their homes, maintain quality housing stock, stay in place longer, and build generational wealth. We believe that old buildings are a key part of a sustainable future. We believe in rehab, reuse, and repair. Through our work, we know that providing people with access to accurate information and educational resources can promote good stewardship of our built environment.
Please let us know if we can be of further assistance in advocating for these programs and other statewide policies that retain and preserve affordable, sustainable, and safe homes in older existing buildings throughout Minnesota.
Rethos is happy to support to SF4024. We thank you for introducing this bill.
Of course we will miss Riley in our office, but she has promised not to leave us entirely. She will volunteer with the Rethos Policy Institute from time to time, and you can, too! Please reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org if you’re interested in tracking bills, building support, or taking other actions to advocate for preservation in housing, climate action, and economic development.