Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto appeared on NBC talk show Meet the Press this weekend to talk about what Washington D.C. can learn from city leaders.
Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto appeared on NBC talk show Meet the Press this weekend. Peduto spoke with the show’s new host, Chuck Todd, along with mayors Marilyn Strickland of Tacoma, Washington and Mick Cornett, of Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. Todd spoke to the mayors after an interview with President Barack Obama and focused on what Washington, D.C. can learn from leadership in U.S. cities.
All three of the cities represented by the mayors were industrial strongholds, suffered a loss of jobs and population in the 1970s, and have worked to reinvent themselves and diversify their economies. All three have seen success, with growing investments, infrastructure projects, and a focus on attracting talent. While Pittsburgh is still not seeing a huge influx of people moving in, both Tacoma and Oklahoma City have seen their populations increase. “It’s about economies that struggled in the past, but are really trying to rebound by doing innovative things right in our own community,” Strickland said of the cities.
The mayors represent three political parties. Peduto is a Democrat, Cornett a Republican, and Strickland an Independent. Each of them emphasized results. “The ultimate goal is what is the vision,” said Peduto. “And it has to be a shared vision, just as we have to work with our councils, the president needs to work with the Congress. But at the end of the day, you have to move forward.”
Specifically, Peduto mentioned a recently announced early childhood education grant for which Pittsburgh plans to submit an application. The federal grant money, part of the Preschool Development Grants program, can be used to create or expand preschool programs. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan announced the federal grant competition in Pittsburgh in August, but Peduto said even if the city is not successful in receiving any of the $20 million Pennsylvania is eligible for, the ultimate goal is getting all Pittsburgh children into quality preschool programs. He said if federal help doesn’t come quickly enough or is not comprehensive, “find a dozen innovative mayors around the country. Let us run with the ball.”
Washington, D.C. has been crippled by partisanship and Todd commended Oklahoma City mayor Mick Cornett for his success in raising funds through new taxes, often a tough path for a Republican. In Pittsburgh, however, Peduto, a Democrat, works with a fully Democratic council.