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Republicans pick nominee for Senate special election

Bill Heeney, Republican leader of the 64th Ward, and Sam Oropeza

Republicans on Saturday endorsed Sam Oropeza in the 5th Senatorial District special election.

Oropeza is a real estate agent who runs a nonprofit called Rescuing Streets through Clean-Ups [RSCU]. He will face Democrat Shawn Dillon in the May 17 election.

The seat is vacant because John Sabatina Jr. resigned to become a Common Pleas Court judge.

Oropeza, 36, is a Delaware County native who is a 2003 graduate of Monsignor Bonner High School and 2006 graduate of Williamson Trade School. He is a former boxer and MMA fighter.

Today, he lives in Bridesburg. His real estate firm does much of its work in Harrowgate.

In the campaign, he expects to focus on quality-of-life issues and crime. He wonders why Democrats refuse to stand up to District Attorney Larry Krasner for what many see as weak-on-crime policies.

“Part of rehabilitation is punishment,” Oropeza said.

Oropeza supports school choice, wants to keep businesses from leaving the city, opposes drug encampments, and would like to see cleaner streets.

“We want to live in a cleaner city, which would lead to a safer city,” he said. “Let’s bring neighborhood pride back.”

He lost his dad at a young age, and wants to help others in the same situation, in part, by recruiting positive role models.

“Kids in the city of Philadelphia need more resources,” he said.

Republicans are waiting, at least for now, to make other endorsements, as congressional and legislative districts have not been finalized.

One candidate who has party backing is warehouse manager Mark LaVelle, who will challenge state Rep. Joe Hohenstein. ••

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