Sunday, April 26, 2015

De Blasio tells Wisconsin Democrats to fight income inequality

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio speaks during a news conference in the Bronx on Wednesday during an Earth Day event. He appeared in Milwaukee Saturday to speak to Wisconsin Democrats.

Associated Press

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio speaks during a news conference in the Bronx on Wednesday during an Earth Day event. He appeared in Milwaukee Saturday to speak to Wisconsin Democrats.

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio told Wisconsin Democrats on Saturday that their struggles are really an opportunity to lead the nation back to "honoring work over wealth," in the state's tradition as a progressive trail blazer.
"We're living through a tough political time, but the great changes were often answers to tough times," he said. "So much has been forged in struggle, in a moment when the pathway wasn't clear."
De Blasio was the keynote speaker in Milwaukee for the party's Founders Day Gala, an event designed to stir members to action, including making donations. It was de Blasio's third recent foray into the Midwest, after speeches in Nebraska and Iowa where he insisted that he is not exploring a presidential run, just promoting his progressive agenda.
That's what he appeared to be doing for the packed ballroom of state Democrats at the Milwaukee Athletic Club, after warm-ups by Mayor Tom Barrett, state Sen. Jennifer Shilling, state Rep. Peter Barca, U.S. Rep. Gwen Moore and U.S. Sen. Tammy Baldwin.
De Blasio made news recently when he declined to immediately endorse his former boss, Hillary Rodham Clinton, after she announced she was running for president. He said he wanted to wait to see what vision Clinton would articulate. De Blasio served as Clinton's campaign manager for her 2000 U.S. Senate campaign.
He called it unprecedented in America that, accounting for inflation, families today are earning less than they did 25 years ago, and he put the blame on growing income inequality.
"These are seas of change, the deepest kind," he said.
He attributed the situation to leaders like Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker. The New York mayor told the crowd that Walker "has gotten by by being the Everyman, then stabbing the Everyman in the back."
But he urged the room to articulate clear messages aimed at working people, people who wonder, if not doubt, that their children won't be better off than they are now.
"The Republicans are on the side of the wealthy and the wealthy alone," he said. "Meet that reality forcefully, and don't forget our core and historic progressive beliefs, and talk in sharp terms of economic reality, then the people will come to us."
"But don't give a muddled message," he warned. "It has to be a truth that's unmistakable."
In New York City, de Blasio has been promoting environmental responsibility, affordable housing, recycling — even calling for an end to garbage. He says income equality, higher minimum wages and other polices will lift 800,000 New Yorkers out of poverty. The first Democratic mayor since 1993, he also vowed to cut back on stop-and-frisk and marijuana arrests, adopt body cameras on police and stepped up police training.
A former public ombudsman under his predecessor Michael Bloomberg, de Blasio focused his 2013 campaign on the growing gap between the city's richest and poorest, a chasm other Democratic Party progressives fear may not get the attention that it deserves from the Clinton campaign.
The New York Post even reported, based on unnamed sources, that de Blasio is secretly positioning himself for his own run.
At the start of his remarks, de Blasio told of going to a Brewers game the night before with Barrett, and how so many people greeted Barrett with compliments.
He said he gets recognized when he goes to stadiums in New York, "but the people offer a different kind of greeting." New Yorkers are so busy, he said, they often just wave, and sometimes with only one finger.
About Bruce Vielmetti
author thumbnail Bruce Vielmetti writes about legal affairs.
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