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Politics

Villaraigosa Touts Political Future With ‘No Labels’

Group calls for unity to end partisan bickering
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(Getty Images)

(Getty Images)

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LOS ANGELES (CBS) — Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa was in New York City on Monday for the launch of No Labels, which seeks to bring about “a less partisan, less ideological, more common sense approach to the nation’s problems.”

No Labels describes itself as a “social welfare advocacy organization created to provide a voice for America’s vital center, where ideas are judged on their merits.” It plans to have chapters in all 435 congressional districts, according to organizers.

In an interview from New York, Mayor Villaraigosa tells KNX 1070 that politicians need to re-discover compromise, and he says that’s why he came out early in support of President Obama’s tax deal with Republicans.

The name No Labels was adopted because it reflects its goal “of encouraging people of all political affiliations to come together to meet our shared challenges,” its website, nolabels.org, said.

No Labels will seek to encourage “all public officials to prioritize the national interest over party interest and to cease acting on behalf of narrow, if vocal interests on the far right or left,” the website said.

Organizers expect more than 1,000 people from all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands to attend the group’s national founders meeting at Columbia University.

Villaraigosa will discuss his efforts on behalf of education reform, his support of the agreement between President Barack Obama and Republican congressional leaders extending tax cuts and unemployment benefits and to win adoption of the 30/10 initiative, which involve federal loans to the Metropolitan Transportation Authority to accelerate the completion of 12 Los Angeles County transportation projects, an aide said.

Other scheduled speakers include Sens. Evan Bayh, D-Ind., Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y., Joe Lieberman, I-Conn., Joe Manchin, D-W.V., Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich., Florida Gov. Charlie Crist, New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Lt. Gov. Abel Maldonado.

The rhythm and blues singer Akon will perform the song he wrote to describe the movement, which is titled “No Labels”

The trip will be Villaraigosa’s 13th in 13 weeks, including visits to Sacramento and Chicago last week.

Villaraigosa is scheduled to return in time to attend the American Civil Liberties Union of Southern California’s 2010 Bill of Rights dinner Monday evening in Beverly Hills.

(©2010 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. Wire services contributed to this report.)

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