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Mayor leads annual lobbying trip to DC

March 10, 2009 12:00:00 AM PDT
Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa and the L.A. Chamber of Commerce are leading some 200 civic and business leaders for the group's annual lobbying trip to Washington, D.C.Members of the delegation are meeting with more than 100 members of Congress and the Obama administration to lobby for federal funds to create or preserve 1 million jobs in the Southland.

"There has never been a more critical time for Southern California's leaders to set aside our differences and come together to revitalize and revamp our region's economy," Villaraigosa said.

"Los Angeles and its neighbors will play a crucial role in our nation's economic recovery, and we have traveled to Washington to call on congressional leaders to give us our fair share of federal dollars and help us get our economy back on track," the mayor said.

The trip began with a breakfast with Sen. Dianne Feinstein. Villaraigosa and members of the delegation met with California's other Democratic senator, Barbara Boxer, in the afternoon.

The mayor also met with Energy Secretary Stephen Chu to discuss the city's efforts to reduce pollution at the Port of Los Angeles and meet 20 percent of Los Angeles' energy needs with renewable sources by 2010.

"Now more than ever, we must uphold our promise to make the American dream a reality for anyone willing to work for it, and we must do everything in our power to stand by our workers and establish the building blocks of progress for the future," Villaraigosa said.

Villaraigosa Tuesday delivered opening remarks at a breakfast with Lawrence H. Summers, director of the National Economic Council, where the topic of discussion the Obama administration's economic recovery plan.

Villaraigosa and police Chief William Bratton are scheduled to meet with Attorney General Eric Holder to discuss stimulus funding for the Los Angeles Police Department's hiring plan and the city's initiatives to reduce gang activity.

The mayor, Los Angeles Unified School District Superintendent Ramon Cortines and LAUSD board President Monica Garcia will meet with Education Secretary Arne Duncan on Wednesday afternoon to lobby for federal funds for school construction and reform efforts.

Los Angeles City Council members Eric Garcetti, Wendy Greuel, Janice Hahn, Ed Reyes and Jose Huizar are also part of the delegation. With Villaraigosa, Garcetti and Greuel out of the city, Councilwoman Jan Perry is the city's acting mayor.

This is Villaraigosa's fifth trip to Washington, D.C., since December.

City News Service contributed to this report.


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