Louisiana state Sen. Karen Carter Peterson was among the group of state lawmakers from across the country who met with President Barack Obama at the White House on Wednesday.

A White House pool report lists the New Orleans Democrat and chairwoman of the state Democratic Party as one of about 53 legislators who took part in the meeting at which Obama urged states to take action when Congress won’t.

“At least for the next year, year and a half, there’s not going to be the kind of action on a wide range of issues that we’d like to see coming out of Capitol Hill, that puts more of a burden — but also a great opportunity — on state legislatures all across the country,” Obama said, according to remarks provided by the White House after the meeting. “Because you can act when Washington won’t.”

USA Today reported that the meeting is part of Obama’s plan to get around Congress by pushing his agenda on the state and local level.

“If there’s one thing I’ve learned, it’s that you’ve got to be nice to state legislators,” Obama joked during the meeting.