Bill de Blasio made his first trip to Washington as mayor-elect, where he met with President Barack Obama and newly elected mayors from across the country. As NY1’s Michael Scotto reports, de Blasio wants to start a national movement to fight income inequality.
Mayor-elect Bill de Blasio thinks his fight against the widening gap between the rich and poor is going to spread across the country.
“It's happening in a lot of places organically. Now people are starting to connect with each other and find a way to support each other,” de Blasio said.
De Blasio was in Washington Friday for a meeting with President Obama and newly elected mayors from across the country.
The conversation focused on a core message of de Blasio's campaign: income inequality - and policies aimed at addressing it, from a higher minimum wage to an embrace of early childhood education.
“There's some basic things that we can do just to create a better economic environment for these outstanding mayors,” said Obama.
It was clear de Blasio was the star attraction, sitting directly across from the president and leading the group of mayors out to the waiting press.
With that new star power, de Blasio is hoping he can mobilize mayors the way Mayor Michael Bloomberg did on illegal guns, but with a bit of a twist.
“I think it has to be accompanied by a real grass roots organizing mentality, a real effort to reach Americans in each and every part of this country and say this is a national imperative,” de Blasio said.
De Blasio has the President on board in his fight.
The challenge will be getting the rest of Washington on board, especially the Republican-controlled House, which has been resistant to much of the president's agenda.
But de Blasio thinks that could change if public sentiment shifts first.
“If we start to change public opinion on the ground, if we start to achieve on the local level and show that you really can fight inequality and we show that the people want it and are demanding it, it will eventually be felt in the Congress,” said de Blasio.
Which means de Blasio's fight will be about much more than New York.