Dem. candidate Dunbar helps prepare local kids for school

As an ex­ample of his be­lief in the im­port­ance of edu­ca­tion, Demo­crat­ic state rep­res­ent­at­ive can­did­ate Wil­li­am Dun­bar vis­ited Port Rich­mond to pass out school sup­plies last week.

Wil­li­am Dun­bar, Demo­crat­ic can­did­ate for state rep­res­ent­at­ive of the 177th Dis­trict, learned a lot after knock­ing on every door in its 66 di­vi­sions.

After speak­ing to the chil­dren and par­ents be­hind those 12,000 doors, he came to a real­iz­a­tion.

“I no­ticed that there were so many kids, and not enough sum­mer pro­grams,” he said.

The op­tim­ist­ic run­ner is only the third op­pon­ent to run against State Rep. John Taylor, a Re­pub­lic­an who’s had the dis­trict seat for 27 years. The dis­trict’s cov­er­age area in­cludes Port Rich­mond, Brides­burg, Fishtown and parts of Ju­ni­ata and Wissi­nom­ing.

And though the days of sum­mer are com­ing to a close, Dun­bar and his com­mit­tee held a “Back to School Giveaway” pro­gram Sat­urday, Aug. 25 at the Samuel Re­cre­ation­al Cen­ter in Port Rich­mond, at 3539 Gaul St.

“This com­munity has been de­prived of re­sources,” said Dun­bar, who lives in Port Rich­mond.

In an ef­fort to com­bat that, he ori­gin­ally prom­ised the first 100 kids in at­tend­ance free school sup­plies for the new school year, but be­cause he re­fused to turn any­one away, that num­ber reached closer to 250.

A fath­er to three boys, Dun­bar said he knows firsthand how im­port­ant it is to be ready for the first day of school.

“This is the first of many events, “ said the Demo­crat­ic can­did­ate. “It’s im­port­ant to get the chil­dren back to school with the ne­ces­sary sup­plies so that next week they can start a healthy school year.” 

Dun­bar and his com­mit­tee picked up school sup­ply lists from loc­al Cath­ol­ic and pub­lic schools, and kids walked away that day with folders and note­books, pens and pen­cils, rulers, cray­ons and glue sticks.

Jo­hanna Giles, whose daugh­ter Shay­la, 10, will at­tend Com­mon­wealth Con­nec­tions Academy, a free state sponsored cy­ber school, said she sees Dun­bar around the neigh­bor­hood of­ten.

“I’ve seen him cam­paign around the area. He pounds the pave­ment, he’s true to his word,” Giles said.

“It’s time for a change in this area,” says Dun­bar in between talk­ing and laugh­ing with some of the chil­dren and par­ents in at­tend­ance. “We are the for­got­ten about place. A lot of these fam­il­ies have been around for gen­er­a­tions, and they need a new voice. They’ve heard the same one for a long time.”

Dun­bar is con­fid­ent that the people of the River Wards will be be­hind him.

“I’ve en­lis­ted in a lot of friends and young people… we’re go­ing to prob­ably be out­spent by the Re­pub­lic­ans three times over, but we’re go­ing to out walk them,” Dun­bar said.

His plat­form, he said, is simple. He in­tends to start by edu­cat­ing the work­force.

“An edu­cated work­force will bring cor­por­a­tions back to the com­munity,” he said, adding that he wants people to truly care about their com­munity, to be proud of what’s around them, and be­lieves that com­munity in­terest and pride will bring about a de­crease in crime.

“People know when you’re genu­ine, and this is me telling them that some­body cares about them in this com­munity,” he said.

Re­port­er Nikki Volpi­celli can be reached at nikkivolpi­

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