Joe DeFelice, chairman of the Republican City Committee, declared GOP mayoral nominee Melissa Murray Bailey the winner of last week’s debate with Democratic candidate Jim Kenney.
DeFelice described Bailey as a global business leader and dismissed Kenney as a 23-year veteran of City Council who shares in the blame for poor public schools, high taxes and lost jobs.
“This is a night for all Philadelphia Republicans to be proud,” DeFelice said. “Melissa rose to the occasion to articulate an urban agenda for Philadelphia that will make all of our neighborhoods strong, schools better and streets safer.”
Helen Gym, a Democratic nominee for City Council at large, slammed the School District of Philadelphia for announcing plans to close additional public schools and open new charters in their place.
Gym criticized the district for its sudden announcement and failure to seek public input.
“Communities across the city were taken by surprise by this announcement, and I find it incredibly frustrating that, once again, the SDP has failed to involve parents and communities in a decision-making process that will overwhelmingly push students of color out of the public school system and into an unaccountable, erratic and more expensive charter school system,” Gym said.
Gym argued that the district’s pattern of shuttering public schools and rapidly expanding charters is further segregating education in the city.
“Transformation can’t happen when communities of color feel like they are being dictated to and not engaged with,” she said.
Gym also pointed out that Renaissance charters have limited data and raised concerns about the skyrocketing costs of charters.
Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 5 and International Association of Fire Fighters and Paramedics Local 22 have endorsed Republican candidate Dan Tinney in his campaign for City Council at large in the Nov. 3 general election.
“We are very proud to endorse Dan Tinney for City Council at large in the general election. Dan Tinney is a neighborhood guy with strong ties to our union membership in the community. As a fellow union member with Local 420 Steamfitters, we believe he will always support our brothers and sisters in blue in City Hall.” said FOP president John McNesby.
“I am very humbled and honored to receive the endorsement of the Philadelphia Police and Fire Fighters and Paramedics. Their support means so much to me because they represent so many of my family, friends and neighbors in my neighborhood. They sacrifice so much at such great personal expense. I believe City Hall needs to prioritize our emergency and first responders’ needs to ensure their continued success serving our great city,” Tinney said.
The Philadelphia Federation of Teachers has endorsed Republican Al Taubenberger for Philadelphia City Council at large).
“Throughout our endorsement process, Al Taubenberger demonstrated a clear understanding of the serious concerns of the Philadelphia Federation of Teachers,” said PFT president Jerry Jordan. “Al understands that, in order to improve outcomes for the school children of Philadelphia, it’s incumbent upon city and state government officials to fully support the talented men and women of the PFT.”
Earlier, Taubenberger was endorsed by the city’s police and firefighters/paramedics unions.
“I am deeply humbled by the endorsement of the Philadelphia Federation of Teachers,” Taubenberger said. “I am a proud product of Philadelphia’s public schools system, as are all of my children. My wife is a retired public school teacher and a member in good standing of the PFT. Our city’s dedicated public school teachers, administrators and nurses are the first and best line of defense to ensure that the city’s children are well-educated in safe and nurturing school environments. The members of the PFT are deserving of our respect and support. If I am fortunate enough to be elected to City Council, I will be a strong advocate for the PFT and the school children of Philadelphia.”
The PFT has also endorsed Andrew Stober’s independent campaign for an at-large Council seat.
PFT president Jerry Jordan said, “PFT executive board members enthusiastically endorsed Andrew Stober for City Council at large. Ensuring fair and equitable education for Philadelphia’s children will be central to his work in Council. We are encouraged by Andrew’s campaign and believe that his deep understanding of the issues facing our students and educators will serve him well.”
“As the son of two public school employees, I’m very honored to receive the endorsement of the PFT,” Stober said. “My campaign has been focused on strengthening and properly funding public schools, and the endorsement of PFT is a great seal of approval.”
Stober resigned as chief of staff for the Mayor’s Office of Transportation and Utilities to run for Council. He helped create the Indego bike share program in Philadelphia, and led efforts that won federal grants to improve the commutes of drivers and SEPTA passengers. He lives in South Philadelphia with his wife and young son.
The Pennsylvania State Troopers Association has endorsed Philadelphia Common Pleas Court Judge Kevin Dougherty for the Pennsylvania Supreme Court.
Earlier, Dougherty was endorsed by the Fraternal Order of Police Pennsylvania State Lodge and the Pennsylvania Professional Firefighters Association.
“As a former prosecutor in the Philadelphia District Attorney’s office, I presided over a wide range of cases and prosecuted serious criminal matters in Pennsylvania. As administrative judge of Philadelphia Family Court for nearly a decade, I presided over countless cases involving young people who ran afoul of the law,” Dougherty said. “Throughout all of these experiences on the bench, I came to appreciate the sacrifices and valor displayed daily by all law enforcement officers, firefighters and paramedics, who confront unimaginable dangers every single day. I have the utmost admiration for all those who are sworn to protect the citizens of this great state and I’m deeply honored by their endorsements and support.”
Pennsylvania State Troopers Association President Joseph R. Kovel praised Judge Dougherty’s record.
“Throughout his long and distinguished career on the judicial bench, Judge Kevin Dougherty has demonstrated his commitment to maintaining law and order and an unwavering respect for law enforcement officials at every level of government,” he said. “The Pennsylvania State Troopers Association’s enthusiastic endorsement today of Judge Dougherty is evidence that the feeling of respect is mutual. He will be an honorable new addition to the State Supreme Court.”
Ralph Sicurro, president of the Pittsburgh Fire Fighters Local 1, added, “We strongly feel that Judge Kevin Dougherty is the right person to preside over issues for working men and women in Pennsylvania.”
The election is on Nov. 3.
Dougherty is joined on the ballot by fellow Democrats David Wecht and Christine Donohue, Republicans Judy Olson, Mike George and Anne Covey and independent Paul Panepinto.
The top three vote-getters are elected.
Congregations of Shaare Shamayim, 9768 Verree Road in Bustleton, will host its annual Meet the Candidates Brunch on Sunday, Oct. 18, at 10 a.m.
The event is free and open to the public.
To RSVP, call the synagogue at 215–677–1600 or Myles Gordon at 215–673–6377.
Democratic mayoral nominee Jim Kenney released the following statement on the passing of former Philadelphia NAACP president and journalist Jerry Mondesire:
“Jerry’s steadfast commitment to advocacy was rivaled only by his loyalty to friends and his love for his family. I will miss him dearly. My thoughts and prayers are with his family and all who will miss Jerry, during this difficult time.”
The Green Party of Philadelphia is looking for progressive candidates to run for elected office.
In 2016, every seat in the Pennsylvania House of Representatives will be up for election, and the Green Party wants candidates on the ballot for voters to consider. The party plans to field candidates for state representative who are fed up with the deadlock in Harrisburg.
The Green Party will support candidates who are interested in a Green New Deal with jobs for all, free public education from pre-school through state university, investment in renewable energy and an end to mass incarceration.
“The Green Party is not your typical group of old political hacks. We are interested in young people who are ready to take the plunge into politics, especially women and people of color who are usually excluded by the two corporate parties,” said Hillary Kane, the city Green Party treasurer.
The Green Party is a national political party founded on the four pillars of nonviolence, grassroots democracy, ecological wisdom and social justice.
State Sen. John Rafferty, a Republican candidate for state attorney general, launched a website at www.RaffertyforAG.com
“Our campaign for attorney general is focused on providing guidance and leadership to help drive the office in a direction to keep Pennsylvania families safe and restore credibility to the office of our commonwealth’s top law enforcement officer,” Rafferty said.
Rafferty has been endorsed by 26 members of the Senate, the Pennsylvania State Troopers Association, the Pennsylvania Fraternal Order of Police and the Pennsylvania Professional Firefighters Association.
Rafferty represents the residents of Pennsylvania’s 44th Senatorial District, which includes parts of Berks, Chester and Montgomery counties. He was re-elected for a fourth term last year. He’s a former state deputy attorney general.
Former Republican State Committee chairman and state Sen. Earl Baker last week endorsed Otto Voit for state treasurer.
“Otto Voit has the knowledge, integrity, experience, commitment and drive to be a great Republican treasurer of Pennsylvania,” Baker said.
“At this point in our history as a state, the need for careful and prudent care of our funds is paramount, and Otto is the man to do it.”
Voit has nearly 30 years of business experience, serving in various leadership roles, including as president of Keystone Industries, partner of a software company and as the chief financial officer of an Inc. 500 company. Voit is also a veteran of the U.S. Army, having served with the 101st Airborne Division and, later, in Operation Desert Storm.
The current treasurer is Tim Reese. He was nominated by Gov. Tom Wolf to finish out the remaining term of Rob McCord, a Democrat who resigned in January and later pleaded guilty to attempted extortion. McCord, who awaits sentencing, attempted to shake down state contractors for campaign donations in last year’s Democratic primary for governor.
Joe Torsella is seeking the Democratic nomination for treasurer. ••