Boyle doesn’t expect to be ‘handed’ Schwartz’s seat

The North­east con­nec­tion: Brendan Boyle, the only Demo­crat­ic can­did­ate who lives in North­east Phil­adelphia, is run­ning for Allyson Schwartz’s con­gres­sion­al seat. TED BOR­DE­LON / TIMES PHOTO

Brendan Boyle is quick to say that he has “nev­er been handed any­thing,” and he thinks his bid for Allyson Schwartz’s soon-to-be-va­cated con­gres­sion­al seat will be no dif­fer­ent. 

The 36-year-old is the only can­did­ate run­ning for the Demo­crat­ic nom­in­a­tion who lives in North­east Phil­adelphia, but that’s not the only dis­tinc­tion he wants voters to re­mem­ber come May.

“One of the main dis­tinc­tions will be at the end of the day who is the per­son who un­der­stands the people of this dis­trict the most and who will work like hell every single day for the people who live in this dis­trict,” Boyle said.

Boyle will face state Sen. Daylin Leach, former con­gress­wo­man Mar­jor­ie Mar­gol­ies and health-care re­form ad­voc­ate Val Arkoosh next May in the Demo­crat­ic primary. The 13th Dis­trict in­cludes parts of North­east Phil­adelphia and most of East­ern Mont­gomery County, and Boyle noted that he was the only can­did­ate who had con­stitu­ents in both counties.

“I think my re­cord is clearly in the main­stream of this dis­trict wheth­er it’s in North­east Phil­adelphia or Mont­gomery County,” Boyle said. 

Boyle was born and raised in the Ol­ney sec­tion of Phil­adelphia in a row home, and was the first in his fam­ily to at­tend col­lege when he en­rolled at the Uni­versity of Notre Dame and, later, Har­vard Uni­versity for gradu­ate school. 

He lives in Somer­ton with his wife, and the two are ex­pect­ing a child in Janu­ary.

He de­scribed Wash­ing­ton, D.C. as “dys­func­tion­al” and said that the cur­rent makeup of Con­gress is largely to blame. 

“I think that the U.S. Con­gress could be­ne­fit from hav­ing more people from my back­ground and per­spect­ive,” Boyle said. “Right now, it’s an in­sti­tu­tion dom­in­ated by multi-mil­lion­aires of both parties who really are out of touch with the people that I grew up with and the neigh­bor­hood I grew up in.”

Boyle ad­ded that it is “very clear” that his back­ground is “quite a bit dif­fer­ent” than the three oth­er can­did­ates. He also noted that his middle-class back­ground would in­spire his cam­paign and his policies, should he be elec­ted.

Cit­ing a re­cent stat­ist­ic that showed in­come in­equal­ity at the highest level since 1928, be­fore the on­set of the Great De­pres­sion, he said that elec­ted of­fi­cials need to do a bet­ter job en­sur­ing jobs for the middle-class and work­ing poor.

“That is a stat­ist­ic that should scare pretty much every­body,” Boyle said.

Boyle noted that he felt the four can­did­ates agreed on “about 80 per­cent” of the is­sues, but that his fo­cus was more on “meat and pota­toes” is­sues. 

“I tend to talk more about meat and pota­toes is­sues and is­sues that af­fect the fam­il­ies that I rep­res­ent,” Boyle said. “So I prob­ably have more of a fo­cus on qual­ity-of-life is­sues and eco­nom­ic is­sues.”

Mak­ing high­er edu­ca­tion more af­ford­able and nar­row­ing the in­come gap would be top pri­or­it­ies for Boyle, if elec­ted. Boyle ran for his cur­rent seat in 2004 and 2006 un­suc­cess­fully against Re­pub­lic­an in­cum­bent state Rep. George Ken­ney, and won the seat in 2008 when Ken­ney re­tired.He said that he first de­cided to leave his luc­rat­ive job in the private sec­tor as a con­sult­ant for an IT con­sult­ing firm when he real­ized there wer­en’t many per­sons with a blue-col­lar back­ground in the halls of Con­gress. 

“Even with this pro­fes­sion’s much-cel­eb­rated short­com­ings and faults, it is a noble call­ing, and we need good people to serve in gov­ern­ment who are in it for the right reas­ons and who are bright, hard­work­ing and want to help people,” Boyle said.

Boyle has the back­ing of the Phil­adelphia Fraternal Or­der of Po­lice Lodge 5 and about 20 labor uni­ons. 

He said he thinks North­east Phil­adelphia voters will re­spond well to his cam­paign, but that he isn’t con­ced­ing Mont­gomery County, and will use the same door-to-door tac­tics that he said won him his state rep­res­ent­at­ive cam­paigns. When asked if he would run for both the state House and the con­gres­sion­al seat, Boyle said he hadn’t made a fi­nal de­cision, however, he noted that the oth­er can­did­ates didn’t face a sim­il­ar pre­dic­a­ment.

“I don’t want to be held to a dif­fer­ent stand­ard,” Boyle said. ••

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