What makes a business executive, with a top position in a national clothing chain, want to become the next City Controller … and to do so as a Republican challenger in a city dominated by the Democratic Party?
Heâ€™s fully aware of the odds. He tackles them every day in his business world, often jetting to as many as four cities in a single day. If he can muster the financial support to sustain the energy he is investing in this campaign, then he could make a fight of it.
Here he explains why he wants to challenge a formidable incumbent:
â€œIn my work, if I donâ€™t create a superior customer experience, they will choose to buy elsewhere. If leaders in Philadelphia donâ€™t create a superior living experience for its residents, they will choose to live elsewhere.
â€œI am running for Controller because it is the most-important, yet least-understood, of the offices in this city. Our governmentsâ€™ financial decisions have profound implications in the sense that how we spend our money, where we spend our money, even if we spend our money has a direct impact on the stability of our neighborhoods, the shop opening its doors for the first time, and the young lives in which we invest.
â€œIn particular, Philadelphiaâ€™s young citizens need a voice in government who understands their generation and its unique challenges. We need energetic, fresh leadership committed to modernizing government, providing better services in a more efficient way, and creating an environment that empowers Philadelphians to thrive.
â€œI intend to use the Controllerâ€™s office as a bully pulpit to engage city agencies, state agencies, and the judiciary as part of a collective effort to require all schools that receive public funds to open their books, including both traditional public schools and public charter schools. The needs of our families must take precedence over the narrow partisan interests that too often dominate our political landscape.
â€œAs a business leader who has run brick and mortar retail stores nationwide, I have been successful in a competitive industry where success is determined by the kind of creative management not customary, but certainly necessary in government today. Additionally, I have first-hand experience with the policies cities around the globe are pursuing to attract jobs, residents, and redevelop neighborhoods.â€
Tracy has an academic background in public policy a BA in Political Science from Temple University and a Masterâ€™s in government administration from the Fels Institute of Government at the University of Pennsylvania.
BUTKOVITZ GETS HEAVY SUPPORT FROM LABOR, POLITICAL ACES
Aspiring challengers hoping to dislodge Controller Alan Butkovitz should be aware heâ€™ll amass enough dollars to bury them in primary advertising if need be.
Backing him with a major fundraiser is IBEW Local 98 Business Mgr. John Dougherty who is hosting a fundraiser at his union HQ, 1719 Spring Garden Street, Feb. 11, 5:30-7:30 p.m. Itâ€™s an all-out push for dollars which could bring anywhere from $75,000 to $125,000, based on other such turnouts.
Welcoming committee will include Congressman Bob Brady, Council President Darrell Clarke, Councilman Curtis Jones and Congresswoman Allyson Schwartz. For info call Local 98 Political Dir. Marita Crawford at (215) 410-9200.
Another labor leader has already come out with a full-throated endorsement of Butkovitzâ€™s reelection. Thatâ€™s Henry Nicholas, veteran president of National Union of Hospital & Health care Employees Local 1199C which, with 18,000 members in the region, is no ally to take lightly.
HONKALA, RUNNING MATE ARE OFF THE HOOK
Green Party 2012 presidential candidate Jill Stein and vice presidential candidate Cheri Honkala were acquitted last Friday in Municipal Court on charges related to their civil-disobedience action at the Fannie Mae office.
They packed the courtroom with supporters. Stein and Honkala, along with 50 other protesters, staged a sit-in at Fannie Mae to demand policies that, according to Honkala, would â€œkeep families in their homes.â€ Fannie Mae is a federal government-sponsored enterprise, one of the largest holders of mortgages and mortgage-backed securities in the United States.
The protest was originally organized by the Poor Peopleâ€™s Economics Human Rights Campaign on behalf of two Philadelphia families whose homes were threatened by foreclosure.
HON. AMATO BERARDI ON THE CAMPAIGN TRAIL
Support continues to grow for the reelection of Hon. Deputy Amato Berardi to the ranks of the Italian center-right People for Freedom in Italy, according to sources from Rome.
Berardi, an Italian American political activist, campaigned five years and won a seat to the Italian parliament under a new law which permitted members of the Italian Diaspora in other countries to be represented in the parliament.
â€œI am honored to receive this additional endowment for the 17th Legislature, a sign of my greater contact with the Italian American community residing in North and Central America. Since 2008, my work has been to carry out the inquiries on behalf of the Italians living abroad and promise to continue to do so in the next legislature, strengthening further my commitment, if I could earn your trust again in winning my election. I thank all those who believed in me.â€
REPUBLICAN PARTY SEEKS ELECTION BOARD CANDIDATES
Since Democratic ward leaders can easily come up with a judge and an inspector of election nominee this primary, the Republicans need to reach out for those interested in seeking the local neighborhood office if they wish to level the playing field.
GOP Ward Leader Matt Wolfe said, â€œWe really need Republicans to step up and run for these positions to have people in a position prevent voting fraud. The position requires two days a year and you get paid. Itâ€™s pretty simple to get on the ballot. You will have from Feb. 19 to Mar. 12 to get signatures of Republicans in your division to sign a petition to have your name on the ballot (10 signatures to run for Judge and five signatures to run for Inspector), have the petition notarized and file it at City Hall.â€
SAWYER ANNOUNCES RUN FOR C.P. COURT
Stephanie Sawyer, a practicing attorney in Philadelphia since 1991, announced her intention to run for Judge of Common Pleas Court in the upcoming May 21 primary election. The campaign kick-off event was hosted by Michael Lambert, Esq.
Although Sawyer was originally born in Queens, N.Y., she was raised in Philadelphia. She attended Holy Cross ES, Masterman and then HS for Girls. She earned her undergraduate and law degrees from Temple University.
While earning her degrees, Sawyer held a wide variety of jobs, which ranged from being a private tutor, a 1st-grade teacher, and a waitress. Her non-legal work history, among other things, provided her a distinct understanding of the typical Philadelphian which stays with her to this very day.
Sawyer began her legal career while still in law school, interning briefly in the District Attorneyâ€™s office, the Public Defendersâ€™ office, with a sole practitioner, and finally in the Law Department for the City of Philadelphia. After graduation, Sawyer became an Assistant City Solicitor in Philadelphiaâ€™s Law Dept. for five years, until she opened her own private law firm.
IS VOTER PHOTO I.D. SLATED FOR BURIAL?
Commonwealth Court Judge Robert Simpson has scheduled a July trial that could determine the fate of Pennsylvaniaâ€™s controversial voter-ID law.
The Jul. 15 trial will center on whether the court should grant a permanent injunction blocking imposition of the law. A preliminary injunction temporarily halting the law from taking effect has been in force since October.
Opponents of the law, mainly Democrats, contend many Pennsylvanians will be disenfranchised under the measure, which would require voters to show valid identification in order to cast ballots.
Simpsonâ€™s scheduling order comes a week after fellow Commonwealth Court Judge Mary Hannah Leavitt barred a voter-ID law opponent from obtaining the driverâ€™s-license information of Pennsylvanians.
The Washington, D.C.-based Advancement Project sought addresses, birth dates, as well as Social Security and driverâ€™s-license numbers for all of the stateâ€™s drivers from the Pennsylvania Dept. of Transportation.
Leavitt ruled that the information, which the group claimed it needed for research, is not in the public record and cannot be disclosed.
YOUNGEST LEGISLATOR KEEPS ON SWEARING IN
J.P. Miranda, with the title of the youngest member in the General Assembly, as the representative from the 197th Dist., held a second swearing-in at Templeâ€™s Ritter Hall.
Miranda has previously worked with Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter, most recently directing the â€œPhilly Countsâ€ program to ensure Philadelphia was fairly counted in the 2010 US Census. He has also served State Sen. Shirley Kitchen (D-N. Phila.) as a project manager.
He started out in government at the age of 19, working for Councilman Darrell Clarke, who spoke with enthusiasm at the ceremonial swearing-in. Councilman Bill Greenlee also paid tribute to Miranda as one of the cityâ€™s sharp young political operatives who cut their teeth in City Hall.
â€œTo be entrusted with an office like this is gratifying,â€ said Miranda. â€œI take these responsibilities given by the people very seriously. Immediately, I will work to improve lives of the residents of the 197th Dist., beginning with developing upon our public education structure for Philadelphians as well as all Pennsylvanians.â€
Miranda campaigned on a platform of helping inner-city residents through tighter gun registration laws and increasing violence prevention programs for youth, as well as restoring human service and educational budget cuts.
The 197th Legislative Dist. is in North Central Philadelphia, west of Broad Street.
TEA PARTY GROUPS NOW AGAINST UNIONS
The Independence Hall Tea Party Association, the largest independent Tea Party group in the tri-state region, is supporting â€œPennsylvania Open Workforce Initiative.â€ It made its position at a press conference held by State Rep. Daryl Metcalfe (R-Butler), who is prime sponsor of a bill designed to weaken the stateâ€™s union membership.
Tea Party Association President Teri Adams declared, â€œWith a Republican legislature and a Republican Governor, itâ€™s only logical that Right to Work legislation take center stage. If Pennsylvania becomes the 25th Right to Work state, the business climate should improve significantly.â€