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Peduto 'Treasured' Relationship With Obama, Wary Of Trump Administration

Sarah Kovash
90.5 WESA

Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto will be in Washington D.C. next week, but not for the inauguration of President-elect Donald Trump.

Instead, Peduto will meet with his counterparts from across the nation to discuss what the Trump presidency will mean for their cities at the U.S. Conference of Mayors. 

“A lot of the discussion coming around a domestic agenda, an urban agenda that will be based upon the need for a critical infrastructure investment and what the priorities should be," Peduto said. 

Trump has proposed a 10-year, trillion-dollar investment in the nation’s infrastructure, and that has caught Peduto’s interest, but he said he wonders how Congress will pay for it.

“The incoming transportation secretary (Elaine Chao) seems very pragmatic and also very interested in technology and 21st Century transportation,” Peduto said. “I think that she'll find Pittsburgh to be a welcoming partner in that, and actually a leader within it.”

Peduto said he doesn’t expect a relationship with the Trump administration to be similar to the one he had with the Obama administration.

“That was unique. I treasured it," Peduto said. "Pittsburgh benefited from it very greatly and it was along parallel philosophies.”

Obama made several visits to Pittsburgh during his eight years in office. He suggested holding the G20 Summit in Pittsburgh in 2009 and his most recent trip was to co-host the White House Frontiers Conference on innovation.

According to Peduto, he and his mayoral colleagues are concerned the new administration might “target” organizations, including Planned Parenthood, the LGBT community and undocumented immigrants and try to penalize municipalities that are sanctuary cities.

“In no way does the federal government have the authority to put mandates upon local city governments, like taking over their local law enforcement or demanding their local law enforcement become federal agents .... 'You either participate or we’ll take your funding away,'" he said. 

Peduto said he will wait and see if the rhetoric of the presidential campaign turns into actions.

"You can’t take that with a grain of salt,” he said. “Let’s see what happens, but let’s be very, very aware of how we got here.”

Kevin Gavin is the host of WESA's news interview program "The Confluence." He is a native Pittsburgher and served as news director for 90.5 WDUQ for 34 years. Since the sale of the radio station by Duquesne University to Pittsburgh EPM, Inc. (now Pittsburgh Community Broadcasting Corp.), he served as Executive Producer of Special News Projects prior to being named as host of "The Confluence" five years ago. kgavin@wesa.fm
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