on Holmes St
Emeka Onwugbenu and Mayor Bill Peduto on Holmes St. in front of McCleary School Condos. Photo by Tracy Certo.

Despite their differences, Mayor Bill Peduto probably owes President Trump a thank you. Not for any particular legislation or policy—nearly all of which our mayor opposes—but for raising his national profile just that much higher. Just yesterday, Politico included Peduto on their list of “America’s 11 Most Interesting Mayors,” citing in part his recent spat with the president—and his clever use of the media—as a reason the country should sit up and take note. Naming him “The Rust Belt rebrander,” Blake Hounshell writes:

There’s no better example of his media savvy than when Peduto seized on President Donald Trump’s speech announcing his decision to withdraw from a 2015 global climate agreement. No sooner had the president said the words, “I was elected to represent the citizens of Pittsburgh, not Paris,” than the mayor was pointing out on his lively Twitter feed that in fact, 80 percent of Pittsburghers had voted for Hillary Clinton. He followed it up with a media blitz positioning Pittsburgh as a leader in green technology, and co-bylined a New York Times op-ed with the mayor of Paris calling on cities to fight climate change.

Why is this kind of attention particularly helpful for Peduto? While Politico said the mayor  “has told friends he has wider ambitions” than being our local leader, Peduto later denied that in a tweet.

America’s 11 Most Interesting Mayors https://t.co/RbOcXfyAPr Thanks @politicomag for shout out, but no interest in any other office.

— bill peduto (@billpeduto) June 25, 2017

Serious as Peduto is about environmental issues, he has a lighthearted side. As Politico details:

When a Nashville Predators fan was arrested for throwing a dead catfish on the ice during Game 1 of the Stanley Cup finals in May, a home game for the Penguins, Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto responded with a barrage of fish puns. “This has turned into a whale of a story,” he wrote in a news release. “We shouldn’t be baited into interfering with this fish tale, but if the charges eventually make their way to a judge I hope the predatory catfish hurler who got the hook last night is simply sentenced to community service, perhaps cleaning fish at Wholey’s.”

Hounshell, who wrote this particular entry on the list, is Politico‘s editor-in-chief. He’s also a graduate of Taylor Allderdice, giving local Politico readers an extra reason to feel some hometown pride.

See Politico’s full list of interesting mayors here.

Ali Trachta

Ali Trachta joyfully returned home to Pittsburgh after a long stint at LA Weekly. Most recently she served as its online editor as well as digital strategist for its parent company, Voice Media Group, which owns seven alt-weekly newspapers. She lives in Stanton Heights with her husband and little boy.