6th District Council candidates talk DROP, campaign platforms

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

UPDATE: On April 18, Mayor Michael Nutter and outgoing 6th District Councilwoman Joan Krajewski endorsed Bednarek.

As the City Council primary elections creep closer and closer, candidates for the Northeast’s 6th District are in full campaign mode.

For the first time in more than 30 years, Joan Krajewski will not be continuing her reign as the voice of the 6th District of Philadelphia, leaving her seat open to a new leader of the district.

Krajewski, who is known as the “Queen of Constituent Service,” flirted with retirement a few years ago. In 2007, she retired for 24 hours after she was re-elected, in order to collect her $297,466 DROP retirement payment. She returned the next day to begin her eighth term.

This time; however, she is serious about retiring.

As Krajewski finishes up her final months in office, three new candidates have been busy walking through neighborhoods, speaking to residents and expressing their ideas of change for the community. The three candidates for the 6th District position are Bobby Henon, Sandy Stewart and Marty Bednarek

Bednarek and Henon are both running as Democrats and will be very focused on promoting their policies and ideas before the May 17 primary elections. Stewart, the Republican candidate, will not need to worry about the upcoming primary elections, as she is running unopposed. Stewart’ s current efforts are focused on the November 8 elections.

Henon, 42, has lived in the Northeast all his life and has been involved with local politics since he was 18 years old. Henon said he understands the need for change and believes he can deliver.

“I can bring fresh ideas. I will bring fresh ideas. I am not a novice at this. I have real life experience in dealing with communities, bringing jobs into the city, understanding what the neighborhoods are about and how much better they can be and a commitment to our citizens,” he said.

On March 30, the Democratic Party formally endorsed Henon. Philadelphia Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 5, the carpenters union and Ed Rendell have also endorsed him.

Along with his wife and two young sons, Henon currently lives in East Torresdale.

Stewart, who is running for her first position in city government, has lived in Tacony for 11 years with her husband and two children. Working for herself as an interior designer, Stewart said she understands the struggles facing small businesses.

“We have a real problem when it makes more sense to go to our surrounding suburbs in Pennsylvania or over the bridge to New Jersey or even down to Delaware. We have a real problem when it makes more sense to not be in Philadelphia to do business. We are just at the end of the rope,” she said.

Stewart is endorsed by IAFF Local 22 Union and is currently completing her Masters in Interior Design at the Community College of Philadelphia.

Bednarek was also born and raised in the  Northeast. After serving as a commissioner for the School Reform Commission for the region, Bednarek’ s presence has been felt throughout the community for almost a decade.

“I felt that being as active as I have been in the neighborhood, that I wanted to continue to be active. I have done a lot of good things on the School Reform Commission for Northeast Philadelphia and I want to continue to do good things,” he said. “I saw what I was able to do as a commissioner, so as a councilperson, I’d like to be able to continue to do the things that I helped the Northeast with.”

Krajewski, Congresswomen Allyson Schwartz, Sen. Christine M. Tartaglione and the Labors Council 332 have endorsed Bednarek.

The Committee of Seventy and the League of Women Voters have been conducting a debate series for each of the elections for the ten districts that make up Philadelphia’ s City Council. A debate between Stewart, Bednarek, and Henon has been scheduled for Thursday, April 28 at the Tacony Free Library.

With five open seats in 2011, City Council will see the biggest turnover in 20 years. Primary Election Day is May 17. Polls are open from 7am to 8pm.


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