In other political news: Former District Attorney Lynne Abraham (center), who is seeking the Democratic mayoral nomination, has been endorsed by more than a dozen animal advocates. As district attorney, she worked with the SPCA to prosecute dog-fighting cases and cruel conditions for carriage horses.
State Rep. John Taylor, chairman of the Republican City Committee, will actively support Martina White in the upcoming special election for the 170th Legislative District seat.
The seat is vacant because former Democratic Rep. Brendan Boyle resigned prior to his swearing-in as a member of Congress.
White, 26, is a financial adviser. The election is set for March 24.
Republicans hold a commanding 119–83 advantage in the Pennsylvania House of Representatives, with two West Philadelphia Democrats likely to leave after being charged with bribery.
“Martina White is the type of person I will need to join me in the majority caucus in Harrisburg to advocate for Northeast Philadelphia,” Taylor said. “It is rare to find a candidate that has the combination of tenacity, creativity and intellect that Martina possesses.”
Democrats are expected to nominate John Del Ricci, vice president of the Parkwood Civic Association and a roadway operations manager with the Pennsylvania Turnpike, where he’s worked for 18 years.
Seth Kaplan, president of the Somerton Civic Association, recently resigned as chief of staff for Democratic state Rep. Kevin Boyle to run as an independent.
Joe DeFelice, executive director of the city Republican Party, is hopeful of a victory by White.
“This race will be all about getting our people out to the polls,” he said. “This seat was recently held by Republican George Kenney, and new portions of this district were part of the former 169th District formerly held by fellow Republican and former House Speaker and current City Councilman Denny O’Brien. Republicans routinely do well in this section of the city and are tired of the higher taxes and poor services they have received. Martina will not allow this section of the city to continue to be forgotten.”
Last week, Councilwoman Marian Tasco (D-9th dist.) announced she would not run for re-election.
Tasco previously enrolled in the city’s Deferred Retirement Option Program, but ran for re-election in 2011 anyway.
The district includes neighborhoods in Northwest Philadelphia along with Lawncrest, Summerdale, Oxford Circle, Castor Gardens and Burholme.
Kevin Strickland, a ward leader, is the likely Republican candidate.
One Democrat almost certain to run is state Rep. Cherelle Parker, a former Tasco aide before joining the House in 2005.
“I am proud to have had the opportunity to work with — and work for — Councilwoman Tasco. She has been a personal inspiration and a tireless advocate for Northwest and Northeast Philadelphia, as well as the city as a whole,” she said.
City Council President Darrell Clarke issued a statement saying, “Councilwoman Tasco’s fierce advocacy for the most vulnerable Philadelphians has shaped her long and admirable career in public service.”
Clarke, meanwhile, announced last week that he would not run for mayor.
Former District Attorney Lynne Abraham, who is seeking the Democratic mayoral nomination, said, “I look forward to working with City Council and the Council president in a positive and productive manner to benefit all the citizens of Philadelphia.”
Another Democratic candidate, former city solicitor and Assistant U.S. Attorney Ken Trujillo, said, “Over the last few years, City Council President Clarke has played an invaluable role in introducing paid sick leave, lowering the wage tax and decriminalizing marijuana, among other accomplishments. His continued strong leadership in City Council will benefit all Philadelphians. I look forward to working with him to strengthen our schools and create opportunities in all of Philadelphia’s neighborhoods.”
Trujillo also released a statement on the lawsuit filed by the National Rifle Association against the city of Philadelphia for passing stricter gun control regulations than in state law.
“It’s reprehensible that the NRA is suing Philadelphia for trying to keep its citizens safe, and it’s even more unbelievable that Harrisburg gave them the power to do so,” he said. “As city solicitor, I sued gun manufacturers on behalf of Philadelphia and several other cities, and reached a historic settlement with Smith & Wesson. As mayor, I will lead the fight against special interests who are putting profit ahead of public safety.”
More than a dozen animal advocates have endorsed Abraham for mayor.
As district attorney, she worked with the SPCA to prosecute dog-fighting cases and cruel conditions for carriage horses. She also advocated for tough animal-cruelty laws and appointed an animal cruelty prosecutor.
In one celebrated case, she prosecuted three juveniles who kidnapped, tortured and killed a beagle mix named Edna, who became lost on Halloween 2007. The juveniles made phone calls to Bill Whiting, Edna’s owner, demanding money for her return. They were convicted.
“It meant so much to me that Lynne and her office took this case seriously and vigorously prosecuted the people who were responsible for this horrible crime,” Whiting said. ••