Former President Bill Clinton will be the keynote speaker at a highly anticipated public health summit to be held in Richmond in October.
The event, titled “Blueprint for Healthy Communities,” is set for Oct. 21 at the waterfront event hall in the historic Craneway Pavilion.
“It’s significant,” said Contra Costa County Supervisor John Gioia, who as vice chair of the Bay Area Air Quality Management District has been part of the event’s planning. “I’m excited about the positive visibility for Richmond that this will bring.”
The announcement of Clinton’s confirmed visit to Richmond came via an email to air district board members sent at 2:30 p.m. today by BAAQMD Executive Director Jack Broadbent.
In the note, Broadbent emphasized that the summit will be part of an ongoing effort to work with air quality and other public health organizations to coordinate and consider “air quality, public health and climate protection in their land use decision making.”
“We are very pleased to have secured President Clinton as the keynote speaker!” Broadbent wrote. “We have also invited, but not yet confirmed, Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius as well as White House Chair of the Council on Environmental Quality Nancy Sutley.”
The event comes at a time when Bay Area air quality rules have risen to national import. In June 2010, the BAAQMD made headlines by adopting the most stringent local development review guidelines in the country – aimed at reducing air pollution and greenhouse gases.
Clinton’s speaking fee will be $150,000, Gioia confirmed, and the air district plans to “get sponsors from around the Bay Area to pay,” Gioia said.
“Having President Clinton provide the keynote to the Bay Area Air Quality Management District’s Healthy Communities Summit will help highlight the air district’s progressive cutting-edge initiatives to link public health issues with land use planning,” Gioia said.