Driscoll announces candidacy, gains support

On the cam­paign trail: Mike Driscoll talks about why he is run­ning for state rep­res­ent­at­ive at the FOP Lodge 5 headquar­ters on March 2. MARIA POUCH­NIKOVA / TIMES PHOTO

Demo­crat­ic ward lead­ers in the 173rd Le­gis­lat­ive Dis­trict are un­an­im­ously be­hind Mike Driscoll in the May 20 primary.

Driscoll, co-own­er of Finnigan’s Wake and busi­ness de­vel­op­ment ad­min­is­trat­or for the 113,000-mem­ber Phil­adelphia Fed­er­al Cred­it Uni­on, also has the back­ing of Fraternal Or­der of Po­lice Lodge 5.

On Sunday morn­ing, Driscoll of­fi­cially an­nounced his can­did­acy at the FOP’s new Far North­east loc­a­tion.

John McNesby, the Lodge 5 pres­id­ent, is serving as Driscoll’s cam­paign chair­man. McNesby vowed to run the cam­paign like a “well-oiled ma­chine,” and ad­ded that there are about 1,200 FOP mem­bers who live in the 173rd. The can­did­ate’s cam­paign of­fice is loc­ated at 8344 Tor­res­dale Ave. 

Driscoll will face op­pos­i­tion in the Demo­crat­ic primary from Den­nis Kilderry and Paul DeFinis, an auto body shop own­er. Mike Tom­lin­son, who ran for the state Sen­ate two years ago, will be the Re­pub­lic­an can­did­ate. Can­did­ates have un­til Tues­day to file nom­in­at­ing pe­ti­tions.

“I’m very con­fid­ent, but I don’t take any­thing lightly,” Driscoll said.

Ward lead­ers Con­nie Dougherty, Bob Del­lavella, Bobby Hen­on and Shawn Dillon at­ten­ded Driscoll’s an­nounce­ment. Mike McAleer, the oth­er ward lead­er in the dis­trict, also backs Driscoll.

Driscoll, who lives on Mil­nor Street in Tor­res­dale, was also joined by his wife, Franny, and five chil­dren, ages 9 to 17. The dis­trict gen­er­ally in­cludes Ta­cony, East May­fair, Holmes­burg, Tor­res­dale, Crest­mont Farms and por­tions of the Far North­east. The seat is open be­cause Demo­crat­ic Rep. Mike McGee­han has de­cided against seek­ing an­oth­er term.

Driscoll, 53, grew up on the 1100 block of E. Chel­ten­ham Ave. in an Ox­ford Circle row home where his dad still lives. He at­ten­ded St. Mar­tin of Tours and Car­din­al Dougherty. He has a de­gree in Eng­lish/sec­ond­ary edu­ca­tion from La Salle and a mas­ter’s in gov­ern­ment­al ad­min­is­tra­tion from Penn.

This will be Driscoll’s second run for of­fice. In 2003, he ran for an at-large City Coun­cil seat, but fin­ished sev­enth among 10 can­did­ates. Five can­did­ates were nom­in­ated, and he was hurt by hav­ing his name lis­ted last on the bal­lot. 

Driscoll served as deputy sec­ret­ary of the De­part­ment of Gen­er­al Ser­vices in the ad­min­is­tra­tion of Gov. Bob Ca­sey. He’s also been on nu­mer­ous boards, in­clud­ing Im­pact Ser­vices, the May­fair Com­munity De­vel­op­ment Cor­por­a­tion, Glen Fo­erd on the Delaware, Delaware River City Cor­por­a­tion, St. Hubert High School, St. Patrick’s Day Ob­serv­ance As­so­ci­ation, Ir­ish So­ci­ety of Phil­adelphia and Self Help Move­ment. He’s a found­ing mem­ber of An­cient Or­der of Hi­ber­ni­ans Di­vi­sion 25 and a mem­ber of the Delaware Val­ley Ir­ish and St. Mar­tin of Tours halls of fame.

On the is­sues, Driscoll be­lieves the state short­changes Phil­adelphia in fund­ing for pub­lic edu­ca­tion. He is hope­ful new School Re­form Com­mis­sion chair­man Bill Green will help se­cure more money.

“That will be an im­port­ant part of my fo­cus,” Driscoll said.

Driscoll be­lieves the city’s man­u­fac­tur­ing task force, which Hen­on co-chairs, could lead to a pub­lic/private part­ner­ship to cre­ate jobs. The can­did­ate also will con­cen­trate on pub­lic safety, ac­cept­ing McNesby’s ad­vice on the sub­ject. Also, he wants to find ways, such as ad­di­tion­al grants, to make col­lege more af­ford­able.

“The col­lege tu­itions are so out of con­trol,” he said.

Driscoll be­lieves a bet­ter pub­lic edu­ca­tion sys­tem and af­ford­able real es­tate taxes are ways to re­spond to the re­cent Pew Char­it­able Trusts study that showed a sharp de­cline in Phil­adelphia’s middle class.

“That is very troub­ling,” Driscoll said.


In oth­er polit­ic­al news, the Black Clergy of Phil­adelphia and Vi­cin­ity en­dorsed State Treas­urer Rob Mc­Cord in the Demo­crat­ic primary for gov­ernor.

The Rev. Ter­rence D. Grif­fiths, pres­id­ent of the group, said his mem­bers are con­cerned about is­sues such as edu­ca­tion, eco­nom­ic growth and fair­ness in the crim­in­al justice sys­tem.

“We looked at all the can­did­ates run­ning for gov­ernor, and we are firmly con­vinced that Treas­urer Mc­Cord has the best ex­per­i­ence and vis­ion for the fu­ture of Pennsylvania, and Mc­Cord is best pre­pared to de­feat Tom Corbett,” he said.

The group con­sists of more than 400 pas­tors and min­is­ters in the Phil­adelphia re­gion. ••

You can reach at twaring@bsmphilly.com.

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