Northeast Times

Local contests heat up as Election Day approaches

Al Tauben­ber­ger (left) with Coun­cil­man O’Neill.

Start­Frag­ment

U.S. Rep. Bob Brady, who took all of the North Delaware Av­en­ue river­front from fel­low Rep. Allyson Schwartz in re­dis­trict­ing, in­tro­duced him­self to some of his new con­stitu­ents last week.

Brady (D-1st dist.), of Over­brook, at­ten­ded an Oct. 18 can­did­ates’ for­um at Delaire Land­ing in East Tor­res­dale.

For the last 26 years, he has served as chair­man of the Demo­crat­ic City Com­mit­tee. He’s served in Con­gress for the last 14 years and de­scribes him­self as a “work­ahol­ic.”

Brady said he rep­res­ents the work­ing class and does not check a con­stitu­ent’s voter re­gis­tra­tion be­fore of­fer­ing help.

In the House, he is minor­ity-party chair­man of the House Ad­min­is­tra­tion Com­mit­tee. He has four of­fices and hopes to open one in the North­east, per­haps rent­ing space from ex­ist­ing dis­trict of­fices of state Sen. Mike Stack or City Coun­cil­man Bobby Hen­on.

In re­marks at the for­um, he de­scribed him­self as a strong pro­ponent of gun con­trol. He be­lieves mem­bers of Con­gress should not be paid if they don’t pass a budget on time. He thinks Con­gress needs to com­prom­ise more, blam­ing Tea Party-backed col­leagues for much of the grid­lock.

“They just want to say no to everything,” said Brady, con­tend­ing the Tea Party-af­fil­i­ated mem­bers are a head­ache even for Re­pub­lic­an Speak­er John Boehner.

Brady’s dis­trict stretches well in­to Delaware County and in­cludes South­w­est Phil­adelphia, South Phil­adelphia, the river wards and 30 per­cent of the North­east. He of­ten has delved in­to labor and oth­er is­sues that are not dir­ectly at the fed­er­al level.

“I rep­res­ent the city and the re­gion,” he said.

••

Mean­while, Re­pub­lic­an John Feather­man, a real es­tate agent and res­id­ent of Chin­atown, be­lieves he would be a big im­prove­ment over Brady.

Feather­man op­posed Brady in a 1998 spe­cial elec­tion when he was a Liber­tari­an. He’s been with the GOP since 2001.

The dis­trict is among the poorest in the na­tion, with an un­em­ploy­ment rate of 11.6 per­cent.

Feather­man cred­its Brady with lov­ing Phil­adelphia, be­ing street smart and suc­cess­ful in solv­ing labor crises, but faults him for fail­ing to make a dif­fer­ence in 14 years.

In a cam­paign video, he re­calls the level of cor­rup­tion by loc­al Demo­crat­ic of­fi­cials. He con­tends his op­pon­ent is not a lead­er among House mem­bers.

“Ar­gu­ably, he is the least pro­duct­ive of all 435,” he said.

Feather­man de­rided his op­pon­ent as “Boss Brady” and feels “dis­respec­ted” that Brady wouldn’t agree to a joint video­taped in­ter­view by philly.com. The Re­pub­lic­an thinks he’d have got­ten the bet­ter of the in­cum­bent.

“He wouldn’t have had a life­line to Jonath­an Saidel,” he said of the former city con­trol­ler, a long­time Brady ally.

If elec­ted, Feather­man would put most of his en­ergy in­to ad­dress­ing the link between il­leg­al drugs and vi­ol­ent crime.

In ad­di­tion, he would try to per­suade the may­or and City Coun­cil to elim­in­ate the gross re­ceipts tax to cre­ate an en­vir­on­ment for busi­nesses to flour­ish. He also wants to main­tain health stand­ards in the work place and the com­munity, but thinks there are too many en­vir­on­ment­al and oth­er sorts of reg­u­la­tions.

Feather­man, who has less than $6,000 in cam­paign money to spend, is in the race be­cause he doesn’t think Brady de­serves to run un­op­posed. He’s busy knock­ing on doors and at­tend­ing for­ums, and plans to make robo-calls.

“I know it’s an up­hill battle. I just don’t have a lot of money. I’m try­ing very hard and I’m go­ing to fight un­til the end,” he said.

••

City Coun­cil­man Bri­an O’Neill has en­dorsed Al Tauben­ber­ger, his fel­low Re­pub­lic­an, for the 172nd Le­gis­lat­ive Dis­trict seat.

Tauben­ber­ger, a Fox Chase res­id­ent and pres­id­ent of the Great­er North­east Phil­adelphia Cham­ber of Com­merce, is chal­len­ging Demo­crat­ic Rep. Kev­in Boyle. He prom­ises to provide lead­er­ship and get things done for the dis­trict by work­ing with the ma­jor­ity GOP in Har­ris­burg.

“I know firsthand that Al has knocked on thou­sands of doors in the dis­trict, and the re­ac­tion has been enorm­ously pos­it­ive,” O’Neill said. “Voters know him, and they know his ded­ic­a­tion to his com­munity and his lifelong sup­port of small busi­ness.”

••

Next Tues­day is the dead­line to ap­ply for an ab­sent­ee bal­lot for the up­com­ing gen­er­al elec­tion. Com­pleted bal­lots must be re­turned by Nov. 2. The elec­tion is Nov. 6. Ap­plic­a­tions are avail­able by phoning the Board of Elec­tions at 215-686-3469 or 215-686-3943. Or, they can be picked up at Room 142 City Hall.

To print an ap­plic­a­tion, go to ht­tp://www.sev­enty.org/Down­loads/PAAb­sent­ee­Bal­lo­tAp­plic­a­tion.pdf

Also, voters will not be re­quired to show iden­ti­fic­a­tion at the polls, des­pite re­cent mail­ings by PECO En­ergy and the city Board of Pen­sions and Re­tire­ment that they will have to present a pic­ture ID. A judge delayed im­ple­ment­a­tion of the voter ID law un­til next year.

Poll work­ers will ask for an ID, but only in pre­par­a­tion for next spring’s primary. Voters do not have to pro­duce an ID to cast a bal­lot.

••

The pub­lic is in­vited to two up­com­ing can­did­ates’ for­ums.

The first will take place this Thursday in the com­munity room of Holy Re­deem­er La­fay­ette, at 8580 Ver­ree Road. It will start at 7:30 p.m.

The second is set for this Sunday at Con­greg­a­tions of Shaare Shamay­im, at 9768 Ver­ree Road. It will start at 9 a.m. and is sponsored by the Men’s Club. The mod­er­at­or will be Ruth K. Hor­witz. ••

End­Frag­ment

You can reach at twaring@bsmphilly.com.

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