NEW YORK — Mayor-elect Bill de Blasio headed to the nation’s capital Friday to meet with President Barack Obama and mayors from across the country to address issues facing cities — including decreasing federal support for urban centers.
De Blasio, who has called Obama a "tremendous ally," said they share similar priorities and concerns about the issues facing New York City.
"The federal government used to feel an obligation to our cities," de Blasio said on Thursday, flanked by two newly appointed members of his administration, First Deputy Mayor Anthony Shorris and Deputy Mayor for Health and Human Services Lilliam Barrios-Paoli.
"It understood that our cities were the leading edge of our nation. They were economically crucial and that's why there was a strong commitment to mass transit, a strong commitment to affordable housing — public housing — et cetera. That has been cut and cut and cut some more since Ronald Reagan was elected in 1980.
“So we've all been working in an environment — literally, all of our work, the time that all three of us have been active — has been against the backdrop of steadily decreasing federal commitment to our cities,” de Blasio continued, referring to his deputies.
The mayor-elect said he looked forward to working with his fellow mayors, 15 of whom gathered in D.C. on Friday, as well as the president, to “slowly but surely turn the…focus…back to investments in education, investments in infrastructure, investments in mass transit…investments in housing” for cities like New York.
"I think a lot of the mayors around the country — particularly the newly-elected mayors, and there’s many progressives among them — are anxious to put our stamp on the national debate," de Blasio said.