(CNN) – Faced with what he sees as unprecedented gridlock in Washington, Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa is not waiting on the nation’s capital to fix his city’s sluggish economy.
Villaraigosa, a Democrat, who also serves as president of the U.S. Conference of Mayors, said the failure by national politicians to fix the economy and work across the aisle is equivalent to “malpractice,” and is the impetus behind his jobs program.
“As our cities go, so go the nation,” Villaraigosa said on CNN’s “State of the Union.” “So what we’re doing here is we’re working, we’re focused on a self-reliant program to create jobs.”
The mayor’s five-point economic plan includes cutting business tax to lure industry to the area, as well as decreasing government red tape. As of September 2011, unemployment in the City of Angels stood at 12.2%, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Despite the perceived failures of Washington, Villaraigosa predicted President Barack Obama will win reelection in 2012 due to his bipartisan action, an economy that will “start to turn around” and the flawed GOP presidential field. He specifically pointed to weaknesses in the candidacies of Mitt Romney, Rick Perry and Herman Cain.
“I acknowledged it's going to be a tough road ahead. But if President Obama was relying on the numbers and past performance, he never would have been elected president,” Villaraigosa told CNN Chief Political Correspondent Candy Crowley. “He defied the odds.”
When asked about the president’s failure to push comprehensive immigration reform in his first years in office, the Mexican American mayor said Obama is “unabashedly in support of fixing this broken system” and pointed to his backing of the DREAM Act. The act, which failed in Congress, proposed a mechanism under which children of illegal immigrants who attend college or join the military can progress toward citizenship.
However, Villaraigosa said he disagrees with the Secure Communities program, started in 2008 by former President George W. Bush and since expanded under Obama. Although the program is intended to remove criminal aliens living in America, Villaraigosa said the majority of those arrested are not criminals.
“In fact, some of them were victims of domestic violence and crimes themselves,” Villaraigosa said.
“I don't have to agree with everything this administration is doing to support President Obama. I unqualifiedly support him,” he added. “But I also, you know, disagree with some of their proposals. And that's one of them.”
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