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Obama pledges to help cities create jobs, improve infrastructure

  |   Jan. 23, 2014 at 11:56 PM
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WASHINGTON, Jan. 23 (UPI) -- President Obama met with more than 250 mayors Thursday to discuss the government's commitment to promote jobs and infrastructure in local communities.

Cabinet secretaries including Education Secretary Arne Duncan and Labor Secretary Thomas Perez participated in a roundtable discussion with the U.S. Conference of Mayors to address the expansion of educational and economic opportunity and investing in infrastructure, the White House said in a statement.

Members of Obama's Cabinet will be traveling across the country in the coming weeks to advance the administration's priorities of strengthening our economy, creating jobs, rewarding hard work, and building a strong middle class, the statement said.

Vice President Joe Biden, addressing reporters in the White House East Room, said Obama "understands cities better than most American presidents have in American history."

"He knows cities face unique challenges when it comes to building infrastructure and creating jobs," Biden said.

Obama gave special mention to Philadelphia Mayor Nutter's program to help young people find summer jobs and to Phoenix Mayor Greg Stanton and Salt Lake City Mayor Ralph Becker for their efforts to end chronic homelessness among veterans.

Nutter told reporters after the meeting Obama's State of the Union Address Tuesday will "address a number of specifics about cities, the focus on cities."

"You are going to hear about on-the-ground activities, what's going on across the United States of America; why cities work, how they work," Nutter said.

"I think you will hear in the State of the Union example after example of how federal support is working on the ground across the country."

Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings Blake lamented the state of the country's urban infrastructure, saying, "We used to lead the way when it comes to transit, but there are other countries around the world who are leaving us in the dust."

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