Politics, government and public life for Southern California

Mayor Villaraigosa heads to Iowa for Democratic dinner

Larry Mantle interviews Antonio Villaraigosa at RNC

Gina Delvac/KPCC

Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, seen here with KPCC's Larry Mantle, is off to Iowa as the keynote speaker at the Jefferson-Jackson Dinner.

Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa is headed to Iowa Friday to serve as the keynote speaker at the Jefferson-Jackson Dinner, an event Democratic politicians typically use as a launching pad for national ambitions.

The mayor is expected to use the opportunity to criticize Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney. According to his prepared remarks, Villaraigosa will tell the audience:  

“Gov. Romney would treat our ambitious and talented immigrants very differently. Instead of supporting their energy and enthusiasm, instead of benefitting from their contributions to our county, he would make circumstances for them so miserable, so oppressive, so intolerable that they would leave behind the lives they have built, their children born here and go back to their countries of origin. They would quote-unquote self-deport. Gov. Romney, that is not who we are.”

Previous keynote speakers at the Jefferson-Jackson Dinner include Presidents Barack Obama and Bill Clinton, Vice President Al Gore and former New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson. 

Villaraigosa has been traveling throughout the country stumping for the president’s re-election. He has appeared at events in New Mexico, Nevada, Texas and Florida. He also attended the presidential debates in Colorado and New York.

The mayor will finish his final term at the end of next June. He has talked about taking time off before deciding his next move. He also told reporters he wants to run for governor, though not against Jerry Brown, who could run for re-election in 2014. 

The Iowa Democratic Party is paying for the mayor’s trip. 

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