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Rawlings-Blake to call for America's mayors to create 'Baltimore Compact'

In her inaugural address as the new president of the U.S. Conference of Mayors, Stephanie Rawlings-Blake on Monday plans to discuss the Freddie Gray case and the subsequent unrest in Baltimore.

Rawlings-Blake said she will call on mayors across the country to develop a bi-partisan agenda at a September meeting in Baltimore to address systemic issues, including poverty, that were highlighted by April's unrest. She said the agenda will be called the "Baltimore Compact," and the mayor's group will press both Republican and Democratic presidential candidates to agree to it.

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"I've heard from so many mayors who are struggling with the same underlying issues that we're facing," Rawlings-Blake said. "The issues of unemployment and poverty. Even with the reforms we put in place, the unrest still happened in Baltimore. They know it could happen anywhere. We're having conversations about what else can we do as mayors to confront these underlying issues. It has to be a national conversation."

Rawlings-Blake will be sworn in Monday as the first African-American woman to hold the influential leadership position. She's also the first Baltimorean to hold the post as "America's Mayor."

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Rawlings-Blake will serve a one-year term. Her inaugural address will take place Monday afternoon.

President Barack Obama and presidential candidates Hillary Clinton and Martin O'Malley also addressed the mayor's group this weekend.

lbroadwater@baltsun.com

Twitter.com/lukebroadwater

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