By Dasani Mann
I am a high school senior in the School District of Philadelphia. I am writing to make a few comments on Rep.-elect Anthony Bellmon’s plans, campaign and what I believe he should look to do during his time in office.
Mr. Bellmon’s campaign website has a lot of useful information on his background and on his “District Priorities” that gives insight on what he would like to see for my area. I was happy to read about his history in Olney and how that perspective influenced his thoughts on what issues were of his top concern. My top concerns are climate change, gun control, education and healthcare. The plans on his website for better communities, development of education and the workplace, mental health services and care for senior citizens are all views that I agree with and hope will heavily impact the future of my district. I am happy to read about our similarities in beliefs and what we feel should be done; however, I would like him to address what he will be doing while in office. While I appreciate his claims to attack these issues, I need reassurance that he will move forward effectively because there is a lack of clarity on how he will support his claims with solutions. I would like to see what he is actively doing, or plans to do, to solve the current problems he has seen. The website includes declarations to provide clean drinking water, provide “new buildings and facilities free from asbestos” and make mental health services more affordable. Working toward implementing these goals requires a great deal of resources, some of which could be scarce. Therefore, sharing some form of a plan would be very beneficial to ensure these goals are both realistic and achievable in the near future.
As I said previously, it was nice to read about his history as a resident and other qualifications, but I would like to hear more. Under the “Cleaner and Safer Communities” priority on his website, it states that Mr. Bellmon has “ … extensive work with at-risk youth, hosting community clean ups around the district, and advocacy to tackle urban environmental challenges [that] demonstrates his unique perspective and solution-oriented approach to community issues.” It was wonderful to read that he has experience in community service; however, upon further research, I have not been able to find much about it. This makes it difficult for me to follow up on the assertion that he has a “unique perspective” and “solution-oriented” approach. If any information on his community work and the like is out there, it is not easily accessible. I have seen on his Instagram that he has connected with several neighborhoods and has participated in dumping ground cleanup, which was an admirable sight. However, I would like to see Mr. Bellmon expand on his ideas, promote his plans and share his service on his social media. I have only seen his district priorities on his website and I believe it would be beneficial to mention them elsewhere to reach a bigger audience.
One of my other concerns that I have not seen him address is abortion rights. I strongly believe in the right to carry out bodily autonomy. This belief only grows stronger as the future of abortion rights remains unclear and stays a debate. His predecessor, Isabella Fitzgerald, has openly spoken for the right to choose and cosponsored multiple bills that would make abortion accessible under every and any circumstance. I would hope that Mr. Bellmon feels, and would do, the same. ••
Dasani Mann attends Masterman.