NEW YORK CITY — Mayor Bill de Blasio has defended his travel outside of New York City as part of a national push to get help from the federal government to address issues that impact the city such as income inequality.
Since January, de Blasio has traveled to Nebraska, Iowa and Wisconsin with his message of the need for higher wages, universal pre-K and paid sick leave on a national level — despite widespread criticism that his national focus is distracting him from New York City issues.
Click on the map to see where the mayor has been this year and where he's jetting off to next.
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De Blasio was in Washington, D.C., on Tuesday unveiling a progressive agenda that he hopes will impact the upcoming presidential elections.
On Wednesday, de Blasio will leave D.C. and travel to California where he will speak at his daughter Chiara's college and the University of California, Berkeley, about income inequality.
"I’ve got to use the tools we have here to address income inequality and a host of other issues," de Blasio said Monday at a press conference in Queens.
"But I also have to participate in changing the national debate and changing the reality in Washington in a way that will support the people of New York City. We’ve got to do both at once."
Over the last 16 months, de Blasio has traveled to Paris after the terrorist attacks there, and Manchester, England, where he spoke about income inequality before the Labour Party.
He's been to Puerto Rico twice, although his most recent trip was a vacation with First Lady Chirlane McCray, and took an eight day trip to Italy with his family where he mixed city business — meeting with the mayor of Rome and other Italian officials — and pleasure, visiting the town where his family is from.
And there have been eight trips to Washington, D.C., to meet with federal officials and to lobby for things such as affordable housing and increased transportation funding.
But New Yorkers are not convinced that de Blasio's travels are helping the city.
A Quinnipiac University poll released Tuesday said 46 percent of New York City voters feel the mayor's foray into national politics is distracting him from his duties at City Hall, compared to 42 percent who did not agree.
The poll also showed de Blasio's approval rating at 44 percent, down from a 49 percent approval rating in January.
"My sense is that a more narrowly focused, specifically tailored approach to urban problems might be less sexy but more necessary," said Kenneth Sherrill, professor emeritus of political science at Hunter College.
"It seems to me that the mayor of the largest city in the country might be most productive by focusing the nation's attention on more specific urban issues than on broader or more general problems."
But de Blasio pushed back against that type of thinking on Tuesday.
He said New York City's problems are directly related to the political climate in the nation's capital.
"We've got to walk and chew gum at the same time," he said. "I've got to achieve these kind of changes while making sure my city is safe, while making sure that we are improving our schools and a host of things we do everyday."