White, Darragh visit Somerton civic meeting

Somerton residents witnessed a preview of an upcoming political debate during a meeting of their neighborhood civic association on Oct. 11.

Pennsylvania Rep. Martina White and her challenger, Matt Darragh, each chose the monthly meeting to stump for votes ahead of the Nov. 8 general election. The candidates each seek White’s 170th district House seat, representing Somerton, Parkwood, West Torresdale, a portion of Bustleton and the Northeast Airport vicinity.

Northeast Times Editor Tom Waring will moderate a debate between the candidates on Oct. 27 at 7 p.m. at Somerton Youth Organization, 1400 Southampton Road.

The Somerton Civic Association allows each declared political candidate to address the group once per election cycle.

White, a Republican, is running for the second time in as many years. She won a special election in 2015 to fill the seat formerly held by U.S. Rep. Brendan Boyle.

At last week’s meeting, White touted the anti-sanctuary city bill that she introduced in the House in February and passed the State Government Committee on Sept. 20, but was recommitted to the Appropriations Committee eight days later. The bill would expose Philadelphia and other sanctuary cities to financial liability for crimes committed by undocumented immigrants.

“We’re trying to reverse the policy and enforce federal law,” White said.

White also touted a bill she sponsored that would prevent local authorities from revealing the names of police involved in on-duty shootings.

Darragh, a Democrat, promised to work hard in Harrisburg on issues that are important to people in the district. He also promised to remain accessible and accountable to constituents.

He said he got involved in local politics in 2007 after his mother passed away from lung cancer. He helped out Sean McAleer’s campaign for City Council that year. McAleer lost, but Darragh found his niche as a community advocate.

“No matter how the election pans out, I’m always going to be involved,” he said.

In unrelated meeting business, Capt. Michael Gormley, commander of the 7th Police District, reported that residential burglaries had declined in the district year-to-date, while all property crimes had declined by 10 percent.

Theft from autos is the one category that has seen a slight increase statistically. Car owners should take preventative measures, the captain said. They should not leave any money or items of value inside a parked, unattended car. Thieves will break into a car for something as little as spare change.

Also, car owners should never leave an unattended vehicle unlocked. Many thefts from autos occur when the owner fails to lock the car. Some thieves will simply walk along a row of cars trying all of the door handles until they find an unlocked door. ••