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Patrick Cannon among mayors meeting with Obama

By Franco Ordoñez
McClatchy Washington Bureau
cannon1203
Robert Lahser - rlahser@charlotteobserver.com
Patrick Cannon speaks to the audience after he was sworn in as Charlotte's new mayor Monday night,Dec. 02,2013 at the Charlotte Government Center.

WASHINGTON Less than two weeks after being sworn in as mayor of Charlotte, Patrick Cannon made his first trip to Washington, D.C., to meet with President Barack Obama.

Cannon was among 16 newly elected mayors invited to the White House to meet with the president and Vice President Joe Biden.

The White House said Obama wanted to learn about the mayors’ needs and to see how the administration could partner with them to create jobs and assist middle-class families.

The mayors met in the Roosevelt Room with Obama and Biden, and were joined by senior presidential adviser Valerie Jarrett and White House Director for Intergovernmental Affairs David Agnew.

Cannon said he shared with Obama his goals for job growth, extending the light rail line and building a bigger transportation hub that could handle goods along the supply routes created by an expanded Panama Canal.

He said he sought the administration’s ideas and assistance for improving the city’s manufacturing base, emphasizing a need for job growth to include blue-collar jobs, not just office workers. He specifically asked Obama for help acquiring federal grants to help pay for new projects such as the distribution hub and an expansion of transportation services.

“It went well,” Cannon said in an interview outside the White House. “The president was very in tune to the message I delivered.”

Cannon said Obama shared his own goals about improving early education, raising the minimum wage and extending unemployment benefits. The president described the need for a strong social safety net that helps people get back on their feet and back to work, he said.

Cannon was sworn into office Dec. 2 after winning an election for the mayoral seat left open by Anthony Foxx, who was chosen by Obama to become U.S. transportation secretary.

This was not the first time Cannon has met Obama. He has attended fundraisers and spoken with him briefly in the past. But Cannon said this was the first time he was able to sit down with the president and talk about the issues facing Charlotte.

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