When my family and I first decided that I would run for elective office, we hit the streets hard. I personally knocked on thousands of doors with my family and friends throughout my Northeast district and beyond. My message was simple: We needed to make certain that the 169th district continued to have a strong voice in Harrisburg, and I was the best candidate to serve you. The efforts paid off. I gained your support and won the election to serve in the Pennsylvania House of Representatives. I will be forever grateful for your friendship and support.
From day one in office, a battle ensued to keep the 169th Legislative District intact. Proposed redistricting was ultimately enacted by the legislature, and the 169th district will move to York County as of the next election cycle. No offense to the good people of York County – I hear they make a heck of a Peppermint Pattie – but I’m a Philadelphian and I never once thought of leaving this place I have called home all of my life.
I have not missed a vote in the Pennsylvania House of Representatives since being elected to the post, a fairly rare accomplishment. Our office has attempted to help everyone who came through our door. The efforts of my staff should be applauded, for we helped more people collectively than four neighboring Northeast Philadelphia state representatives combined, according to statistics provided to us by the House Caucus. While each issue is quite different in nature, we found that more than 60 percent of the issues were related to the City of Philadelphia, not to the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. Our successes ranged from saving the privatization of the Pennsylvania Lottery, neighborhood outreach programs, securing funding for SEPTA and our roads, and creating a statewide pilot program to provide help for children and adults struggling with dyslexia.
We accomplished much in a relatively short amount of time. Unfortunately, we were not successful in saving the 169th district, and this year, as a result of mandatory redistricting, many of our homes will be located in different districts, including my own. Some of you are currently receiving mail from numerous elected officials and opposing candidates because you will be choosing new district representation that will begin in December 2014.
While the 169th district will be relocated to York County, I have been presented with a unique opportunity. The recent resignation of Philadelphia At-Large Councilman Bill Green (he was named chairman of the School Reform Commission) has created a vacancy on City Council. Numerous leaders throughout the city have approached me to gauge my interest in filling the position because they earnestly believed that I would be a great addition to Council and a voice that they could depend on.
Through much discussion with my family, friends, neighbors, staff and leaders throughout the city, I have decided not to seek the nomination for state representative of the 174th Legislative District, where my house now resides after redistricting occurred.
Philadelphia is my home. It’s where my heart resides. I can do the most good for the city I love by staying right here. For all these reasons, I have accepted the Democratic City Committee’s nomination to fill the vacant seat and join Philadelphia City Council as an at-large member.
I still have to win in a special election in May and I’ll need your support once again. My experience as your state representative has prepared me well for this challenge. I will bring the same fighting spirit, work ethic and results-oriented drive to City Hall to improve the lives of all Philadelphians. ••