McMonagle the latest Dem to enter 177th district race

A City Councilman aide has thrown his hat in the race to become the sixth Democrat running in the 177th Legislative District election.

Sean K. McMonagle is giving up his job as an aide to City Councilman Mark Squilla to enter the Democratic primary in the 177th Legislative District.

McMonagle worked in Council for 19 years, first with former Councilman Frank DiCicco. He is a lifelong Port Richmond resident, a graduate of North Catholic High School and a married father of two.

McMonagle is one of six Democrats running for a seat being given up by Republican Rep. John Taylor.

Other Democrats running are Joe Hohenstein, an immigration lawyer who took 45 percent of the vote against Taylor in 2016; Maggie Borski, a law student and daughter of former congressman Bob Borski; union plasterer Sean Kilkenny; community activist Dan Martino; and Sean Patrick Wayland, who served eight years in the U.S. Army Reserve and spent time in Iraq in 2008.

Possible candidates are Tom Forkin, an aide to state Rep. Mike Driscoll and chairman of the 55th Ward Democratic Committee; and Harry Enggasser, a ward leader, aide to U.S. Rep. Bob Brady, two-time challenger to Taylor and president of the Bridesburg Civic Association.

The Republican candidate is expected to be Patty-Pat Kozlowski, a community activist who formerly worked as director of park stewardship at the city Department of Parks and Recreation and as an aide to the late Councilwoman Joan Krajewski. Kozlowski’s official announcement will come Thursday night at her alma mater, St. George Elementary School.

Other Republicans who could run include Pete Smith, a community activist from Tacony and Wharton School graduate, and Chris Vogler, GOP leader of the 55th Ward.

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Sean Kilkenny continues to dominate when it comes to union backing.

Kilkenny was unanimously endorsed by the building trades in December.

More recently, he has secured endorsements from the Philadelphia Gas Workers Local 686, the Pennsylvania Council of Teamsters, Communications Workers of America Local 13000, the Laborers District Council and International Association of Fire Fighters and Paramedics Local 22.

“I am proud of the united labor front we have built in such a short time. I believe they are putting their trust in me because I am one of them, a union worker who is genuinely trying to make a difference in my community. With labor on the same page, the possibilities are endless. With a union worker in office, working families can trust that their issues will be a top priority. Education, wages, working standards, better living conditions are all things I have worked hard to build for years, and I will continue to work for them and the residents of the 177th district,” he said.

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Following last week’s announcement that U.S. Rep. Bob Brady (D-1st dist.) will not seek another term, several more candidates have indicated interest in the race.

Even with Brady in the race, he was facing primary challenges from Michele Lawrence, a minister, radio show host and CEO of a wealth and wellness company; former Traffic Court Judge Willie Singletary; Nina Ahmad, former deputy mayor and chairwoman of the local National Organization for Women; and political newcomer Casey McLeod.

“I thank Bob Brady for his service. I intend to take the baton and bring bold progressive change to the 1st Congressional District as well as to the country. As a scientist, a woman of color, an immigrant and an activist, I have long felt that I am most able to stand up to Donald Trump and the Republicans in Congress. That was as true yesterday as it is today. Now is the time to fundamentally change the direction of Southeastern Pennsylvania and the country. Now is the time for gender equity and full representation. Now is the time for a bold new voice in Congress, and I intend to be that voice,” Ahmad said.

Lawrence said, “I congratulate Congressman Brady on his retirement. He has proudly served the 1st Congressional District for 20 years and helped direct much-needed resources to the Delaware Valley. But my candidacy is not about Bob Brady. I intend to bring a new vision based on service, opportunities and solutions to our community, and I look forward to earning the privilege of succeeding Mr. Brady in the House of Representatives.”

Kevin Johnson, a pastor and president and CEO of the Philadelphia Opportunities Industrialization Center, launched his campaign for the Democratic nomination following Brady’s departure.

“The city of Philadelphia and surrounding communities deserve a representative in Congress who’s not just another career politician,” Johnson said. “Our region needs someone who will fight to strengthen the community, and someone who is equipped to stand up to President Trump’s draconian policies.”

Other possible Democratic candidates are state Rep. Joanna McClinton and Rich Lazer, deputy mayor for labor.

The race remains fluid, as the Democratic-controlled state Supreme Court has ordered the Republican-led legislature to draw new congressional boundaries for this year’s races. If Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf rejects the map, the Court will draw the maps.

U.S. Rep. Brendan Boyle, whose seat will probably be dramatically altered under a new map, released the following statement on Brady:

“Since coming to Congress, I’ve gotten to know Bob well. I value our friendship and working closely together to help the city we both love. Bob is a proud son of Philadelphia. He loves our city and would do anything to help anyone. No one has a bigger heart than Bob.”

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Congressional candidate Nina Ahmad, who grew up in Bangladesh and moved to Philadelphia in 1983, offered the following response to President Donald Trump’s State of the Union address:

“We didn’t hear much from the president in the way of new proposals, but we did hear the same hateful, anti-immigrant rhetoric that he has been using since the campaign. He felt no need to praise immigrants for what we contribute, but he made multiple mentions of a single criminal gang as though they represent our community. We deserve more respect than this president affords us.”

Ahmad was recently endorsed by Joe Khan, who ran for district attorney last year.

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City elections commissioner Lisa Deeley announced that candidates for Democratic and Republican committeeperson will be able to generate their petitions online and print them.

Candidates will no longer need to travel to City Hall to pick up petitions.

“For years, judge, state representatives and senators have been able to generate their petitions and file their campaign finance reports online, at their own convenience. Now, committee people and city candidates will be able to run for office without the additional burdens of traveling to City Hall just to pick up or file a piece of paper,” Deeley said. “With the increased interest in running for office in the last year, I, for one, think it is about time that these improvements are made.”

Candidates can generate petitions at www.philadelphiavotes.com

Petitions are also available in the County Board of Elections office in City Hall Room 142.

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State Rep. Tom Murt is among nine Republicans who have filed a resolution applying to participate in a national term limits convention for Congress.

“The people of Pennsylvania are lucky to have public servants who see what is going on in Washington and are willing to take action to fix it. By using Article V to term-limit Congress, they can restore balance between states and the federal government as our founders intended,” said Philip Blumel, president of the nonpartisan U.S. Term Limits.

A Gallup poll shows support for congressional term limits among Republicans (82 percent), independents (79 percent) and Democrats (65 percent). ••