LOS ANGELES (CBS) — The mayor of Los Angeles on Monday will be everywhere but the city over which he presides on his way to a meeting at the White House.
Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa will first be in Baltimore to be sworn in as president of the U.S. Conference of Mayors, after which he will travel to Washington, D.C., to meet with President Barack Obama.
Villaraigosa told KNX 1070’s Dick Helton that he wants to lead the mayors of the nation in an effort to pressure lawmakers in Washington to step up reinvestment in the American workforce.
“It’s time to stop talking and start acting,” said Villaraigosa. “We can’t continue to dither with the full faith and credit of the United States of America maybe going to default, set back our economy and not do what we should be doing, and that is putting people back to work.”
Villaraigosa pointed to the critical funding shortages facing community colleges and its ripple effect on preventing workers to get the training necessary to keep up with the changing jobs market.
“One of the most important things we could do to jump-start the economy right now is help to retrain those displaced workers for the jobs that are growing,” said Villaraigosa.
When asked about how these programs would be funded as the city, state and federal governments are all facing crippling debt loads, the mayor suggested that changes are in store for the “broken” entitlement system.
“We are going to have to cut back on defense spending so that we can invest in people again,” said Villaraigosa. “We have to address this deficit and debt, but we have to do it in a way that doesn’t set us back and doesn’t increase our unemployment.”
The mayors on Friday introduced a resolution calling for Congress to end the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and to use war funding to instead boost jobs and infrastructure in struggling U.S. cities.