National Conference of Mayors discuss jobs, infrastructure

The skyline of Kansas City, Mo., where Sly James is mayor. He's in Orlando this week for the National Conference of Mayors.

David Brancaccio: Barack Obama and Mitt Romney this week weighed in on the state of the economy and the country. But how might a politician closer to the ground assess this situation? The National Conference of Mayors is going on now in Orlando.

Kansas City mayor Sly James is there. Mayor James, good morning.

Sly James: Good morning.

Brancaccio: So all these mayors gathered. It’s an election year, but the economy is tough in many spots in the country. How do you describe the general mood there?

James: The mood amongst mayors about things that mayors do is great. The mood amongst mayors about things that Congress and the national politics addresses is not good at all. There is dismay that Congress has adopted a “we’re not doing anything until after the election” approach when we have so many problems at ground level that we need to address. Dismay that we haven’t addressed infrastructure at any way on a national level, something that would clearly and obviously put people back to work. And something that’s so clearly and obviously needed.

Brancaccio: Are you finding any good ideas for perhaps bringing more jobs to Kansas City?

James: Oh, absolutely. Obviously tourism does stimulate the job market quite considerably. That’s certainly something that we’ve looked at. We’ve also looked at how we can increase our imports and exports in order to stimulate our jobs in Kansas city and other cities as well.

Brancaccio: What do you have in Kansas City for international import and export? Do you have some manufacturing?

James: Well we have a little bit of everything frankly. It’s a pretty broad scope. We export some manufactured goods but also some premanufactured goods out of the country. We export and import some alcohol believe it or not so it’s kind of interesting there.

Brancaccio: Mayor Sylvester 'Sly' James of Kansas City, thank you very much.

James: Thank you very much, it was great talking to you.

About the author

David Brancaccio is the host of Marketplace Morning Report. Follow David on Twitter @DavidBrancaccio

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