Democratic party veteran Bill Durham enters 8th District race

LaSalle University’s Community Liaison, Bill Durham, has decided to join a crowded field of Democratic hopefuls vying to lead Philadelphia City Council’s Eighth District.

Durham, a long-time Northwest resident, has been active in the area on a political and community level for close to two decades. He has served as one of the city’s Democratic committeepersons and vice president of the 35th Police District Advisory Council. Currently, he chairs the Pennsylvania Democratic State Committee for the 4th Senatorial District.

“For the past 15 or 20 years I’ve only done community relations and government relations. I have that consistency of being in the public and listening to community issues,” said Durham in a phone interview Thursday.

Durham said his decision to run for City Council stems from an interest in reconnecting constituents to the seat’s intended role as a community partner.

In knocking on neighbors doors, he said he’s experienced a lot of apathy toward elected officials. Many residents, he said, seem to have given up on the political process.

“I’ve been getting a real beating from individuals that have just lost interest in supporting the process of trusting someone to come into office and actually do what they say they’re going to do,” he said.

That’s why one of Durham’s number one priorities will be to open an Eighth District office in the District.

Generally speaking, Durham said he is interested in tackling employment and education. He also wants to create programs for ex-offenders and improve vocational training opportunities.

Making sure basic services like sanitation and transportation are running smoothly for residents is also a top concern.

“All of these problems are collective,” said Durham. “In order for us to all benefit, we all have to get together and find out what we have and how we can reach a common ground and move forward as a district.”

Achieving that goal, he said, will take a lot of energy. But Durham maintains that there’s a tremendous amount of opportunity to do positive work in the district if the right amount of dedication is applied.

This is Durham’s first run for City Council. He is one of 11 Democratic candidates running for the open Eighth District Council seat being vacated by Donna Reed Miller, a 16-year incumbent.

“It is a crowded field and I know a number of people who are in it. But my strategy is just to go out and meet people and get it done.”

Durham and others have until March 8 to get their names on the ballot for the May 17 Democratic primary. A candidate must have at least 750 validated nominating petition signatures to qualify.

Names of other expected candidates include:

• Cindy Bass

• Jordan Dillard

• John Churchville

• Andrew Lofton

• Donna Gentile O’Donnell

• Greg Paulmier

• Verna Tyner

• Anita Hamilton

• Howard Treatman

• Robin Tasco

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