This is the ninth of ten questions NewsWorks asked the seven Democratic candidates running for the Eighth District City Council seat to respond to.
Voter forums showed a strong desire to move past old Democratic Party cliques and power brokers. You’ve got 200 words to persuade the good folks out in the pews that you will not be beholden to any power brokers, past employers or big donors. Go.
I’m the chairman of the 4th senatorial district and I know almost every elected official in the city and state including judges. I did not ask for anyone endorsement. I from the beginning only want to get my message to the people of the 8th that I will work for you. I have not taken one dime from an elected official, and will not. I’ve been in politics for over 15+ years and I believe I feel the same way that you do. FRUSTRATED with the current leadership. I know better that any candidate seeking this position how politics works. I will make it work for all of us. The elected officials currently will all tell you that I mean what say and say what I mean. I will make the system work.
Traditionally, Candidates have served the power brokers or politically aligned individuals who have supported them or help fund their campaigns. It is for this reason that I seek the endorsement and support of the community. I’m not a part of any Party cliques and have not received any big money donations. Therefore, I am beholden to the citizens of the district that elected me to represent their best interest.
I have been self-employed for the past 32 years. I stood in the street with neighbors to keep 20th Street open against the wishes of a large and powerful institution in the neighborhood. We succeeded in keeping the neighborhood and the college, students and faculty, safe by insuring that emergency vehicles could travel on 20th street. In another example I organized neighbors along with past City Councilman David Cohen to stand in the street at Wayne Ave and Hansberry Streets to persuade the city of Philadelphia to install a traffic light enabling children to cross this busy intersection safely to school at a time the Mayor, Ed Rendell was replacing traffic lights with stop signs in neighborhoods through out the city.
I am not connected to any power brokers, neither in the 8th District nor anywhere else. I am independent of any political, business or social “strings,” “markers” or favors. I have had to fight for everything that I have achieved in life. My only obligation will be to the voters in the 8th District who elect me to be their Councilperson.
I can answer the question in a lot less than 200 words. I’m not part of a party clique and I don’t have the backing of any power brokers or kingmakers. I have very few big donors—none has reached the campaign finance limit. As for past employers, I’m self-employed. My strategy in this campaign has been to go straight to the voters, tell them who I am, talk about issues, and listen to their concerns. We’ve knocked on the doors of well over 15,000 voters in every ward and we’re getting our message out all over the district. As a councilman, I’ll be loyal to the people of Northwest Philadelphia, not to any group or individual.
I have been forceful – in this questionnaire and elsewhere – in my belief that we cannot allow elected officials from outside the Eighth District to intervene in important in-district issues. Some of my fellow candidates in this race have allowed their pursuit of outside political endorsements to take center stage in their campaigns. While I have received support from several of our district’s dedicated leaders, they know I will not be beholden to them. I have always been a force of independence and thoughtfulness in my neighborhood, and the endorsement of the communities of the Eighth District is by far the most important one to me.
Philadelphia is and for the near future will always be a predominately Democratic City. We have had our share of politicians that have had a strong influence (good and bad) on the City’s politics. A number of them have done great things for our City and our District. It is no secret that I was a long time staffer for Congressman Fattah. Not only has he been my boss, but a mentor as well. In a political atmosphere that has been dominated by males, he has had the courage and foresight to encourage me through this process of Philadelphia politics. For that I will always be grateful. However, the Congressman or any other City politician will not be the Councilperson for the 8th District. I, alone, will have to answer for decisions I make as a Council person. I, alone, will have to stand in front of constituents in meetings as I relay to them bad news or. I, alone, will have to work the countless hours it will take to make this District achieve the potential we all know it can. For those reasons, I am beholden to one person (myself) and one group, you, the voters.
NewsWorks would like to thank all of the Eighth District candidates for participating in our effort to inform the voters before Tuesday’s primary election. On Election night visit NewsWorks for complete coverage of the Eighth District voting results.