Still working: Jared Solomon has no opponent in the 202nd Legislative District race, but he’s helping fellow Democrats by raising money for their campaigns. In April, he defeated Rep. Mark Cohen in the primary. TIMES FILE PHOTO
Jared Solomon has been busy since winning the 202nd Legislative District Democratic primary in April, but he’s not been asking for votes in the upcoming general election.
Solomon secured himself a place in the House of Representatives when he handily defeated Rep. Mark Cohen, who has been in office for 42-plus years.
No Republican, independent or minor-party candidate filed to run in the overwhelmingly Democratic district, meaning Solomon will take office in January.
Still, he is on the campaign trail, raising money for future campaigns and helping Democrats facing tough races on Nov. 8.
In fact, he will be joined by Mayor Jim Kenney at a fundraiser on Wednesday night at the Residences at the Ritz-Carlton in Center City.
Tickets range from $100 to $2,500, and the menu includes cheesesteaks from Steve’s Prince of Steaks, a longtime landmark at Bustleton Avenue and St. Vincent Street.
While Steve’s has been thriving for more than 35 years, Castor Gardens and some other Lower Northeast neighborhoods in the 202nd district face challenges.
Solomon, a lawyer and U.S, Army JAG officer, is the founder and president of the Take Back Your Neighborhood civic association.
Among the challenges he sees is safety. He’s heard Castor Gardens residents tell him they don’t want to walk to the meetings at Max Myers Playground at night.
“That’s completely unacceptable,” he said in an interview at the Country Club Diner.
Solomon has kept his campaign office open, and is eyeing a district office that will be centrally located. He’ll have office hours at night and on weekends, along with pop-up offices. Help will be available for people who speak other languages.
Since the primary, he and campaign aide Zack Arnold have been handling neighborhood issues.
They teamed with the carpenters union to build a handicapped-accessible ramp for a shut-in; contacted the city Department of Streets about potholes and the Department of Licenses and Inspections about sewage coming out of a house; arranged for an attorney to help a woman facing eviction from her home; and helped a couple behind in their rent.
Solomon prides himself on being accessible.
“Everyone in the district has my cell phone number,” he said.
Solomon is hiring a staff, and is looking forward to being able to help more people while in office.
Challenges he sees in the Lower Northeast include unemployment, low incomes, poverty, declining property values and needs at Max Myers, Tarken and Jardel playgrounds. He and his staff will tackle those issues and others.
“It will be all hands on deck,” he said.
Once he arrives in Harrisburg, he will serve in the minority.
Republicans hold a 119–84 advantage in the House of Representatives.
Solomon has been raising money to donate to the House Democratic Campaign Committee. He hopes a big showing by Hillary Clinton in Southeastern Pennsylvania will allow Democrats to win Republican-held seats.
Also since the primary, he has been meeting with business owners, faith leaders, recreation department leaders, police captains, principals, more than 30 future Democratic colleagues and city and state agencies, commissioners and cabinet secretaries.
Once in office, he plans to hold summits on crime, education and quality-of-life issues. He plans to be proactive, not passive, on neighborhood issues such as the commercial corridors on Bustleton, Castor and Rising Sun avenues. He’ll work on a new home for the shuttered Gibbons Police Athletic League and hopes to find a good tenant for the old David G. Neuman Senior Center.
As his workload increases in the new year, he hopes to find a new president for Take Back Your Neighborhood. He has hosted meetings since the election, and organized another successful Northeast Celebration in August at Max Myers. ••