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Dillon, Picozzi talk at Delaire

State Sen. Jimmy Dillon and challenger Joe Picozzi spoke at last week’s candidates night at Delaire Landing.

Dillon, a Democrat, and Picozzi, a Republican, are unopposed in the April 23 primary.

Also appearing at candidates night were state Rep. Pat Gallagher, who is unopposed in the primary and general election, and City Councilman Mike Driscoll, who won’t be on the ballot again until 2027.

Dillon, a graduate of Holy Ghost Prep and Notre Dame, won a special election in May 2022. In this race, he has been endorsed by the city and state building trades and Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 5.

Dillon is a ward leader and operates the Hoops 24-7 Basketball Academy  He has two daughters and cares for his 87-year-old mom.

Legislatively, he’s introduced a bill calling for housing rental rate protections, mandating casinos dissuade patrons from leaving minors unattended (passed the Judiciary Committee) and creating a criminal offense for harassment of sports officials (passed the Senate).

“They’re mainly common-sense things,” Dillon said.

Dillon said he hopes the Senate considers what he calls “common sense” gun legislation that has passed the House.

In all, Dillon said he has brought more than $25 million in state funds for the Northeast. He is optimistic about the future of Philadelphia, pointing to the new mayor, police commissioner, City Council president and FOP president.

Picozzi introduced himself as a 28-year-old Somerton resident and Eagle Scout. He was joined by his parents, Joe and Ruth.

The challenger said his top three issues are “public safety, public safety and public safety,” supporting funding for police pay raises and recruitment. He also wants fines for littering, faults District Attorney Larry Krasner for not prosecuting crimes such as shoplifting, supports school choice, favors public school investments targeted to students, wants to direct resources to women in crisis pregnancies and plans to be an advocate for rent subsidies for the middle class.

If elected, he said he’ll be serving in the majority, helping him deliver on issues such as fixing potholes, ending the practice of detailing cars on city streets, identifying absentee and unlicensed landlords and promoting partnerships among the building trades, high school students and adults interested in jobs in those fields.

Picozzi said he is “appalled” at the open southern border, adding that the U.S. does not know the background of those illegally crossing and whether they are bringing deadly fentanyl with them. He also opposes Philadelphia being a sanctuary city.

Picozzi described himself as an outsider and reformer and said he can be part of a new generation of leaders who are not part of the entrenched political establishment.

“I’m not going to owe any of these people anything,” he said.

Driscoll said he was happy that, a day earlier, a federal judge rejected Safehouse’s attempt to open a safe injection site in Philadelphia. 

Last year, Driscoll voted to ban safe injection sites in the city and to override Mayor Jim Kenney’s veto of the bill.

Driscoll was happy that Mayor Cherelle Parker signed his bill cracking down on “tag flippers,” devices allowing drivers to change or alter the license plate displayed on their vehicle.

The legislation prohibits the purchase, installation, possession for the purpose of installing, manufacture, sale, offer to sell or otherwise distribute a license plate flipping device in the city. It imposes a $2,000 fine on those found to have violated the ordinance.

Parker promised to enforce the new law.

Driscoll had high praise for Parker overall, describing her as the first pro-law enforcement mayor “in at least eight years.” He also said she doesn’t need GPS to find the Northeast.

“I’m not going to say anything about the mayor before her,” he said. ••

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