6th District Council candidates talk community involvement and big issues

This is the third in a three-part series covering the 6th District Council race. You can read part 2 hereYou can read Part 1 here.

As Philadelphia’s City Council braces for the biggest turnover in 20 years, residents of the 6th District will not have to worry about an unknown face elected into office.

The three candidates running for the seat in City Council all have strong connections with their communities and the district as a whole.

Democratic candidate Bobby Henon has lived in the 6th District all of his life has been actively involved in each of the neighborhoods he has lived in. Henon’s interest in politics began at the age of 18, when he became a Democratic committee person in his local community.

Henon, a board member of Northeast Victims Services, is an assistant coach at the Torresdale Police Club, and also participates in the charitable and philanthropic opportunities that the Torresdale Police Club offers.

“I am a member of the self-help advisory board. It’s a non-profit where they try to provide an opportunity for people to personally drop some bad habits and some addiction problems that they have. It’s a humbling experience,” Henon said.

Sandy Stewart, another lifelong resident of Philadelphia, has lived in Tacony for 11 years with her husband and two children. Stewart started working for her local civic association three years ago and is very focused on improving the quality of life issues that face the residents of the 6th District.

While living in Tacony for eleven years, Stewart has seen almost all of her neighbors move out of the neighborhood. “The easy thing to do is to put my house up for sale and move somewhere where I can send my children to the local schools. Where my husband and this household are not beat over the head by the city wage tax. Where it is more conducive for me as a small business owner to start that small business,” Stewart acknowledged.

“But I was born and raised here my entire life. I have Philadelphia in my blood and although that would be the easier answer and the immediate financial answer, I just don’t believe it is the right thing to do,” Stewart said.

Democratic candidate Marty Bednarek also has strong ties to the 6th District as he was born and raised in the Northeast. As a former commissioner for the School Reform Commission for Northeast Philadelphia, Bednarek has been active in the community as a coach for the past 35 years. “I have started my own organization about fifteen years ago and we also are involved with a league that we run throughout the wintertime. We bring in about 700 kids every Saturday and they play basketball all day,” Bednarek said.

I think that’s important because it gets kids off the street. It shows them how to get along with others. Today young people are constantly texting and listening to their iPods. They are not communicating with each other,” Bednarek said.

The Committee of Seventy and the League of Women Voters have been conducting a series of debates for each of the elections for the 10 districts for City Council. A debate with Stewart, Bednarek and Henon has been scheduled for Thursday, April 28 at the Tacony Free Library. For more information on the debate series, please see the Committee of Seventy’s website.

With five open seats this year, City Council will see the biggest turnover in 20 years.

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