Bridesburg civic activist and former City Council aide Patty-Pat Kozlowski has announced she’ll challenge indicted City Councilman Bobby Henon in the May Democratic primary.
Henon was charged in a lengthy corruption indictment along with electricians union leader John Dougherty last month.
“I’m running on character and integrity,” Kozlowski said in an interview. “Our councilman is under federal indictment, and we can’t give him a pass on this. We can’t do the Philly shrug and say, ‘Ah, this is what politicians do.’ ”
While one Democrat and one Republican have already announced plans to seek Henon’s seat, Kozlowski has more political experience and name recognition in the district than either, presenting a more formidable challenge to Henon.
Kozlowski, 42, spent 10 years working for the late Joan Krajewski, who held the 6th District Council seat before retiring in 2011. Krajewski died in 2013.
Krajewski was a plain-spoken advocate for her rowhouse constituents, and Kozlowski seems cast from the same mold.
In an op-ed piece last year, she defended using the word “junkies” to describe heroin addicts and reported confronting one user in front of a her house with a baseball bat.
“I’m going to start swinging this bat,” she said. “Now get the f**k off my property.”
Kolowski is against the proposed supervised injection site for opioid users, saying she favors “tough love” in the form of mandatory treatment for the addicted.
“As a city and state, we should give rehab and treatment to these addicts,” she said, adding that services could be funded through a 1.5 percent tax on sports betting.
“I’m as compassionate as the next person, and I understand everyone has a friend or someone in their family who’s addicted,” she said. “But they can’t rob, steal, assault, and slowly kill our neighborhoods. Somebody has to stand up for our quality of life.”
Kozlowski also opposes the city’s controversial sweetened beverage tax, saying it’s harming businesses and driving shoppers out of the city.
She also noted that Henon pushed for the tax at Dougherty’s instruction, according to the federal indictment.
Last year, Kozlowski ran unsuccessfully as a Republican for the state legislative seat formerly held by longtime GOP state Rep. John Taylor.
She said Taylor asked her to run, and that she hoped she could be effective representing the district as part of the majority party in Harrisburg.
But that’s behind her, she said, and she’s back to her roots as a Democrat.
Before working for Krajewski, Kozlowski worked for Democratic state Rep. Marie Lederer. After Krajewski retired, she was an assistant managing director for the city working on parks and recreation programs.
She describes herself as a long time “rec rat” who advocates for neighborhood recreation centers. She said she likes Mayor Jim Kenney’s Rebuild program, which would restore many such facilities, but thinks it shouldn’t be funded through the soda tax.
She’s also editor of a community newspaper, the Bridesburg Bulletin.
Kozlowski is the third candidate to announce plans to run for the Council seat.
Mayfair’s Deborah Young, an activist focusing on addiction, plans to run as a Democrat, and Tacony civic activist Pete Smith is running as a Republican.
Asked about the prospect of facing Kozlowski, Henon said in a brief interview Thursday that he’s happy to put his record as a Councilman before the voters.
“It’s a democracy, so everybody has a right to run,” Henon said, “but I’m going to continue to do my job and look forward to another four years.”
The primary election is May 21.