With a spirited speech, Oliver enters mayoral field

Doug Oliver once reported to City Hall as Mayor Nutter’s press secretary.

After a stint with the Philadelphia Gas Works, he now hopes to return there to lead the city himself.

Saturday afternoon, Oliver, 40, made his mayoral bid official before dozens of smiling family and friends.

During his roughly 20-minute speech in Germantown, Oliver painted himself as the fresh face the city needs to move forward.

Relying on political veterans, he said, won’t get the job done.

“How can you be the candidate and talk about change when you’re part of the City Hall system that needs to change in the first place? You can’t be the problem and the solution,” said Oliver.

“How can you be the candidate and talk about change when your plan for education guts the public education system and leaves countless parents and children with no choice at all?” he said.

Oliver said education and jobs will be the centerpieces of his campaign.  He said all of the city’s ills can be traced back to one or the other.

“You show me a city that has educated citizens and I’ll show you a city that’s cleaner, uses public transportation whenever possible and naturally recycles.” Oliver said. “You show me a city where people have life sustaining jobs and I’ll show you a city with lower crime, a stronger pension system and more money for core city services.”

Oliver said he wants a school system where every student can get a good education, whether they attend a traditional public school or a charter school.

If elected, Oliver said he’d work closely with City Council to identify new, dedicated funding sources for schools – ones not based on raising taxes if possible.

When it comes to jobs, Oliver said he wants to address the hundreds of thousands in the city whose arrest records make it hard to find employment.

Changing the city’s tax structure, supporting start-ups and investing in commercial corridors are also part of his platform.

“I am a father, I am a businessman, I am a communicator, I am a teacher, I am a vision-setter. I’m a Philadelphian and I’m a man who loves his city and will fight for its future,” said Oliver in closing.

At 40, Oliver is both the youngest candidate and, as of this week, the most cash-poor in the field.

Campaign finance reports filed Monday showed that an exploratory committee raised just $1,470 in 2014.

A competitive media campaign typically takes a few million dollars.

Also in the race are former City Councilman Jim Kenney, former District Attorney Lynne Abraham, State Sen. Anthony Hardy Williams, former City Solicitor Nelson Diaz and former State State Sen. Milton Street. All will compete in the May 19th Democratic primary.

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