Working towards peace and sustainability

2021 Candidate Forums on Climate Concerns


In the past, our candidate forums have been in person. We hope that we'll be able to do this again soon.

While climate change is a global concern, much of what needs to be done to address it actually happens at the local level. We need climate conscious leaders at all levels of governance who can implement policies that effectively address the crisis we face. For that reason, even though Peaceworks does not endorse or oppose candidates for office, we do our best to educate our members and supporters as to where the candidates stand of critical climate matters.

April 6, 2021 is the date for our next municipal and school board elections across Missouri. Peaceworks once again, in collaboration with our climate allies, held forums with candidates for the Columbia Public Schools Board and the Columbia City Council focused on climate change and related issues. While we have members and supporters in many neighboring communities, we did not have the resources to reach out to candidates outside of CoMo.

Our allies in the Osage Group of Sierra Club, Renew Missouri, Citizens Climate Lobby of Columbia, CoMo Transit Justice, Sunrise Movement Columbia and Climate Leaders at Mizzou joined with Peaceworks in sponsoring this pair of forums, held on-line this year, via Zoom as well as Facebook live. We also recorded both events and are now able to share them here.

To access the Feb. 22 School Board forum please click HERE.

To access the Feb. 25 City Council forum please click HERE.

A few things to note: The candidates were provided the questions in advance so they could consider the issues and perhaps research those they were less familiar with.

All five School Board candidates participated. They are: Teresa Rouse Maledy, Lucas (Luke) Neal, Aron Saylor, Katherine Sasser and Jeanne Snodgrass. Teresa Maledy had a schedule conflict so she shared her responses in writing, and a volunteer read these for her.

There are six candidates running for City Council, three in Ward 2, and three in Ward 6. Four candidates, two in each ward, participated while the other two did not. We offered all candidates the option of having a surrogate present their responses or to put their responses in writing to be presented by a volunteer, but two chose not to participate. We’ll leave it to you to draw your own conclusions as to what this says about their climate concerns and positions. Or you can contact them to ask them their thoughts on these critical issues.

The Ward 2 candidates who participated are Bill Weitkemper and Andrea Waner. The Ward 2 candidate who did not participate is Jim Meyer. The Ward 6 candidates who participated are Betsy Peters and Philip Merriman. The Ward 6 candidate who did not participate is Randy Minchew.

We hope you’ll find this information helpful and encourage you to share it. We will also note that the deadline to register in time to vote on April 6 is Wednesday, March 10.

To access the Feb. 22 School Board forum please click HERE.

To access the Feb. 25 City Council forum please click HERE.

Joe Biden’s Rite of Passage?


So, Joe Biden has done what every new U.S. president has done for decades. Shortly after entering office, they have all ordered the U.S. military to drop bombs that take the lives of people thousands of miles from our shores; people who have done nothing to attack or threaten our country. This is supposed to show that they are tough. It’s a “don’t mess with me or else” sort of message. A way of showing they’re not “soft.”

Biden ordered the attack on a Shiite militia that he and the Pentagon allege was responsible for attacks on U.S. bases and facilities in Iraq, but this begs two questions:

First of all, is there any legitimate reason why the U.S. would have any troops or contractors based in Iraq, many thousands of miles from the USA? It seems the U.S. presence in Iraq is an artifact of the illegal, immoral and counter-productive U.S. war on that now beleaguered and divided country. There is no defensive reason for the U.S. to project military force into Iraq specifically or the Middle East in general. Their presence in Iraq or any other country in the region has no legitimate purpose.

Secondly, while the Biden administration claims this action was a measured, retaliatory response, this ignores the nature of cycles of violence. The U.S. perspective takes things back to the last action, one allegedly taken by this militia, but that ignores the actions of the U.S. This includes the 2020 U.S. assassination of Iranian military commander major general Qasem Soleimani.

Cycles of violence are incredibly destructive and have no winners. Given the stature of Soleimani, the Iranian response has been very measured. Can you even begin to imagine the U.S. response if Iran launched a missile that killed the chair of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff while on a visit to France?

What’s most relevant right now is getting back on track with the Iran Nuclear Agreement, which Trump withdrew from, and ending the proxy war in Yemen. Unfortunately, Biden and the Iranians are playing a high-stakes game of Chicken, with each insisting the other go first; the U.S. saying Iran has to get back in compliance with the nuclear agreement (they were in compliance when the U.S. withdrew) before sanctions are lifted, and the Iranians insisting that the U.S. lift the sanctions, which violate the agreement, and then they will come back in compliance. In the interests of peace, it’s rather obvious that both sides should take these steps simultaneously.

Biden should be given credit for halting the sale of offensive weapons to Saudi Arabia and the UAE that would be used in Yemen, but this alone won’t end the war there; the world’s most serious humanitarian crisis. It’s high time a cease fire and comprehensive halt to arms shipments is initiated and a conference of all concerned parties is held. Pursuing such a path would be a wise step for our new president. Dropping bombs on Shiite militias is not.

A true sign of strength would be turning to peacemaking and away from lethal use of force. The U.S. can, and must, do better.

Peaceworks Needs Your Support.


It's been a tough year and, as it races to a close, Peaceworks is looking for your help. We need to raise $30K during our year-end drive and would very much welcome your support.

Our ability to keep doing our visible, impactful work for climate action, peace with justice and a sustainable future for all depends upon the generous support of approximately 400 caring individuals or households.

We don't have matches, premiums or other bells and whistles. We're simply a frugal, local, grassroots group that does a ton of education and advocacy on a shoestring budget. Trust that your donation will be spent wisely and will make a difference.

If you'd like to learn more about us, check out our fundraising letter at: CLICK HERE

There are several good ways to make a tax-deductible contribution:

  You can mail us a check addressed to Peaceworks at:  804 E. Broadway Ste. C, Columbia, Mo 65201.

  You can stop by the Peace Nook and donate in person.

  You can give securely at: CLICK HERE

  You can contribute via a Facebook fundraiser between now and Dec. 15 at: CLICK HERE.

  Between Dec.1-31 you can give via CoMoGives.com.

Many thanks to all who are already supporting our work and a special thanks to those who give now. You are most appreciated.