Dennis Kilderry announced his candidacy in the 173rd Legislative District during a Saturday morning news conference at Tacony’s Roosevelt Playground, where he serves as president of the advisory committee.
Kilderry, 38, an elected official of Insulators Union Local 14, is one of four Democrats running. The others are Mike Driscoll, Paul DeFinis and Arlen Curtis LaRue. The Republican candidate is Mike Tomlinson. Democratic Rep. Mike McGeehan is not seeking another term.
“Dennis believes in this community,” said Steve Pettit, business manager of Local 14.
Kilderry, an Algard Street resident and longtime 55th Ward Democratic committeeman, thanked McGeehan and his staff for their 24 years of service. He wants to keep the district’s neighborhoods strong, pointing to their affordable housing, easy access to Center City and nice bar/restaurants such as the Grey Lodge Pub and Chickie’s & Pete’s.
At Roosevelt Playground, Kilderry has helped add sports teams, organize cleanups and paint over graffiti.
“I’m a dedicated volunteer,” he said.
If elected, he’d vote to raise the minimum wage, work to improve the commercial corridors on Torresdale and Frankford avenues and support Tacony Community Development Corporation manager Alex Balloon.
Driscoll has the support of the district’s ward leaders and Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 5.
“This district is not a door prize for the political elite to hand out,” Kilderry said.
Kilderry acknowledges that he will not be as well funded as Driscoll.
“I’ll make it up in hard work,” he said.
Kilderry describes himself as “the people’s choice,” and plans to meet voters at their homes, the way McGeehan did so successfully.
“We’re going to win it at the doors,” he said. “I’m an everyday worker. I live in a rowhome. People are looking for that person.”
Basketball fans say the meaning of March Madness is the upset victories by teams like Dayton and Stanford.
The Republican City Committee describes it as the embarrassment that Philadelphia Democrats are bringing to the city. The local GOP pointed to the recent indictment of state Sen. LeAnna Washington, who allegedly told an employee questioning the use of office staff to plan a birthday party fundraiser for her that, “I am the f——— senator, I do what the f—- I want, and ain’t nobody going to change me.”
Also, state Rep. J.P. Miranda faces corruption charges. And, four state representatives are accused of taking money and a judge is accused of accepting an expensive bracelet in a sting.
“They continue to show they have no respect for the offices and duties to which they are elected,” said Joe DeFelice, executive director of the Republican City Committee. “It truly is madness.”
The Committee of Seventy is urging the General Assembly to allow for the creation of an independent counsel to determine why state Attorney General Kathleen Kane dismissed a three-year sting operation that allegedly captured four state representatives on tape accepting money from an undercover informant.
The Independence Hall Tea Party is calling on the state legislature to remove Kane from office.
“Ms. Kane’s refusal to do the right thing in order to protect her political allies and friends is even more frightening than the bribery itself,” said Teri Adams, president of the local Tea Party.
Kane has said she ended the probe, in part, because the sting’s targets were mostly black lawmakers. She also noted that the informant had charges dropped against him in an unrelated case.
The Congregations of Shaare Shamayim, at 9768 Verree Road in Bustleton, will host a 13th Congressional District forum on Sunday from 10 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. The public is invited and will be able to ask questions. Light refreshments will be served.
Those attending will be Republicans Dee Adcock and Beverly Plosa-Bowser and Democrats Daylin Leach, Brendan Boyle and Valerie Arkoosh.
Democrat Marjorie Margolies, a former congresswoman, will not attend.
Ken Smukler, a senior adviser to the Margolies campaign, said he’d prefer a forum with only his candidate’s primary opponents.
“Why should we waste time debating Republicans in a Democratic primary?” he asked.
Smukler said Margolies has agreed to attend a forum sponsored by Upper Moreland Democrats in May. In addition, she plans to attend a forum tentatively scheduled for early April that is being organized by John Sabatina, Democratic leader of the 56th Ward.
Back in 1992, when Margolies squared off with Republican Jon Fox, the two debated 13 times.
“She has no problem with debates, and looks forward to them,” Smukler said.
Jared Solomon is challenging the nominating petitions of his primary opponent, state Rep. Mark Cohen (D-202nd dist.).
“Clearly, Rep. Cohen didn’t make much of an effort to go door-to-door to talk directly to Northeast Philly voters and get decent signatures,” said Sam Shoap, Solomon’s campaign manager.
Jeffrey Voice, who is challenging state Rep. Kevin Boyle (D-172nd dist.) in the primary, called it “an affront to veterans” that his nominating petitions are being challenged.
Voice, a decorated combat veteran, labeled Boyle a “Harrisburg insider.”
“I intend to fight this challenge on behalf of those who want to see the 172nd district represented by the Democratic wing of the Democratic Party,” he said. “I intend to deliver representation that is 100 percent pro-public education, 100 percent pro-women’s rights and 100 percent above board. I will fight as hard for my constituents in Harrisburg as I did for my country overseas. The people of the 172nd deserve a Voice in Harrisburg.”
Voice is also pointing out that Boyle received $2,000 in campaign donations from Ironworkers Local Union 401. Last month, FBI agents arrested 10 Local 401 leaders on charges that include destroying the property of contractors who ignored threats against hiring non-union employees.
“Will Kevin Boyle return the money, or assume the same position as his brother did…and keep it?” Voice asked.
Boyle said it would not be right to return the money because that would label all ironworkers as being part of the alleged violence, and that’s not true.
“I am not going to give back the Ironworkers’ money,” he said. “The Ironworkers are an integral part of the Northeast Philadelphia community. They’re my neighbors. They’re my friends.”
State Rep. Brendan Boyle, Kevin’s older brother and a congressional candidate, is also not returning the money Local 401 donated to his campaign.
State Rep. John Taylor (R-177th dist.) is pleased with the Pennsylvania Department of Labor and Industry’s report that the state’s unemployment rate is down to 6.2 percent, below the national rate of 6.7 percent.
“Since Gov. Corbett took office, I have been proud to work with him in Harrisburg to reduce taxes and burdens on the private sector so we can put more hardworking Pennsylvanians back to work,” he said. “Gov. Corbett’s energy and pro-jobs agenda stepped in to save the Philadelphia-area refineries, and have created new opportunities to make our shipyards the busiest in decades. Pennsylvania is on the right track, and it couldn’t have been done without Gov. Corbett’s leadership.”
The Philadelphia Republican City Committee unanimously nominated West Philadelphia’s Matt Wolfe as its candidate to fill the at-large City Council seat vacated by School Reform Commission Chairman Bill Green.
Wolfe is a longtime ward leader and former deputy state attorney general.
The Democrats nominated state Rep. Ed Neilson to avoid a House primary with fellow Rep. John Sabatina Jr.
The newly formed Philadelphia Teenage Republicans will meet on Thursday, March 27, at 6 p.m. at Republican City Committee headquarters, at 3525 Cottman Ave. in Mayfair.
Joe DeFelice, a Mayfair resident and executive director of the local GOP, has met with the leadership of the group, including interim chairman Kyle Adams, a senior at Father Judge High School.
Speakers at the meeting will include state Rep. John Taylor, chairman of city committee; Darin Bartholomew, chairman of Pennsylvania College Republicans and student body president at Temple University; and Phil Innamorato, vice chairman of the Philadelphia Federation of Young Republicans.
“We are excited by the energy these young men and women bring to the table. Many of us first started in politics at a young age with no direction from the organization. Hopefully, the creation of this group will better ease their ascendance into the Philadelphia political structure,” Taylor said. ••