[POLS ON THE STREET: S.W. Pa. Squeaker Outcome Ripples Across USA

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CITY COUNCIL passed a measure mandating periodic training on sexual harassment in all city workplaces. Mayor Jim Kenney signed the measure and vowed full compliance. Councilwoman Blondell Reynolds Brown, who introduced the bill, has been pushing for it for a year. L-R in City Council Chambers last week to celebrate the measure were all Councilwomen: Helen Gym, Cindy Bass, Reynolds Brown, Jannie Blackwell, Maria Quiñones Sánchez and Cherelle Parker.

BY JOE SHAHEELI
One thing we learned from Tuesday’s special election in Southwestern Pennsylvania’s 18th Congressional District is that we don’t yet know for sure who won.

Absentee ballots remained to be counted as we went to press yesterday. But the final margin of victory, a few hundreds of votes, guarantees a call for a recount. All America will watch this recount. All Philadelphian activists of all parties will follow this show for a week or two. The implications for our upcoming primary and general elections are vast.

Regardless of the eventual winner in this weird race between Republican Rick Saccone and Democrat Conor Lamb, one result is clear: Republicans in districts that Trump carried by even as much as 20 points may be looking down the wrong end of a barrel in November.

Expect Republican primary candidates to shy away from public comment on this problem until after the May 15 primary. But expect private calculations to start now all across Republican Pennsylvania and America – particularly for congressional seats, given the chaotic upheaval decreed by the State Supreme Court in these races, but also in all state- and municipal-office races.

How badly do Republicans in swing districts want to lose by supporting President Donald Trump’s movement at all costs, after they dodge any primary challenges from their right in the spring? That will be a tale told by the November election.

Casey Clocks in Petitions from 67 Counties

U.S. SEN. BOB CASEY honored former Philadelphia City Councilwoman Marian Tasco in the Russell Senate Building in Washington, D.C. Many from the Philly political world were in attendance. L-R were Gerry Sizemore, former 50th Ward leader; Congressman Brendan Boyle; Councilwoman Marian Tasco; Casey; and Councilwoman Cherelle Parker.

U.S. Sen. Bob Casey (D-Pa.) qualified for the ballot by filing nominating petitions from every county in Pennsylvania, totaling more than 21,000 signatures. Casey garnered as many signatures as the entire Republican field combined.

“We’re honored to have such strong grassroots support from Democrats in every corner of the commonwealth,” said Campaign Manager M.E. Smith. “Between the outpouring of grassroots donations and the number of petitions we’ve collected, Pennsylvania Democrats are fired up and ready to send Bob Casey back to the Senate to continue the fight for workers, seniors, and the middle class.”

Ahmad Touts Her Strong Signature Showing

Despite declaring her candidacy less than eight days before deadline, Nina Ahmad filed 4,289 signatures for the next lieutenant governor’s race. In 11 counties, she gathered signatures, more than 200 signatures from seven counties.

“I want to thank all of the wonderful volunteers and everyone who helped make this petition drive a success. We couldn’t have put together this monumental effort in only one week without their efforts – even the nor’easter couldn’t stop them. I am truly humbled by their belief that we need a strong new voice to represent us in this office.”

Ahmad said she looked forward to a vigorous campaign focused on redefining the office of lieutenant governor:

“We’re going to have serious debates throughout the course of this campaign, and there are many issues we need to address, like ending sexual harassment in Harrisburg, bringing new 21st- century jobs to Pennsylvania, and making sure children in every ZIP code gets the same level of quality public education.

Ahmad pointed out the ground-breaking nature of her candidacy. Currently, Pennsylvania has no women elected to statewide executive offices or Congress. She would be the first person of color elected to a nonjudicial statewide office in Pennsylvania, the first Asian American elected statewide, and the second woman to serve as lieutenant governor.

OMG! A TV Ad for Lt. Guv Hopeful?

In a historic first, a Pennsylvania statewide primary candidate for lieutenant governor bought a TV spot on a national political news channel.

Democrat Aryanna Berringer, who is based in Southwestern Pennsylvania, ran a 60-second ad during Rachel Maddow’s show on MSNBC last week.

Congressman Bob Brady (D-Phila.) joined Jerry Jordan, president of the Philadelphia Federation of Teachers; American Federation of Teachers President Randi Weingarten; and Philadelphia Council President Darrell Clarke in a discussion in search of solutions for the safety of immigrant families. The Congressman also met with Carmela Hernandez and her children, who under threat of deportation, have taken up sanctuary at the Church of the Advocate in North Philadelphia, a member congregation of the New Sanctuary Movement of Philadelphia. Brady will introduce a Private Bill that proposes Permanent Residence for the Hernandez family. L-R were Brady; Hernandez; and Sheila Quintana, a community organizer with the New Sanctuary Movement of Philadelphia.

The ad, titled “My Own Words,” features Berringer speaking directly to camera, talking about money in politics.

“I’m not afraid to give it to you in my own words. Politics are being controlled by the mega wealthy and the corrupt. First you have Mayor Fetterman, who raises money telling us he wants to overturn Citizens United and that the rich are buying our elections, then his family dumps $125,000 into a super PAC to help him,” Berringer says.

“And you have Lt. Gov. Stack take $25,000 from a known political corruption convict.”

Berringer’s campaign, reports Politics PA, is currently pushing the ad on social media to raise money to be able to run the ad on TV more than the one time it has aired so far.

God bless the winner. Going further, we must note – having been around the block more than once – that when state lieutenant governor wannabes must take to national airwaves to press their case, America has crossed a line that should disturb us all.

LGBTQ Clarion Slams Bill Green

Mark Segal, publisher of Philadelphia Gay News, unleashed a ferocious assault on former Councilman and School Reform Commissioner Bill Green IV’s pursuit of a challenge to Congressman Brendan Boyle in the new, State Supreme Court-decreed 2nd Congressional District.

Segal wrote that Boyle is “a major LGBT ally. I wish I had a way to describe how this makes me feel.

“Maybe I should just remind everyone in our community,” he continued, “that Bill Green was the only Democrat on City Council to vote against the City’s most-comprehensive LGBT-equality legislation, which included one of the most trans-inclusive clauses ever put into legislation at that point in the nation. Then-Councilman Jim Kenney introduced the bill before he became mayor. Green voted with two other Republicans and opposed the 14 other Democrats in favor of it.

“He soon left City Council in disgrace and Gov. Tom Corbett appointed him to the School Reform Commission. Was that a payback for voting against the most trans-inclusive legislation in the nation? Eventually, it seems, he lost his way there as well.

“At the time, we all agreed that he was toast in our community. I’m so glad he’s running, since it gives us a chance to again unite against Bill Green.”

Fiedler Snaps up Union Backing

Elizabeth Fiedler, a candidate for the 184th Legislative District in South Philadelphia. has received the endorsements of Pennsylvania Association of Staff Nurses & Allied Professionals, UniteHere! and Pennsylvania Working Families Party. The endorsements reflect Elizabeth’s commitment to workers’ rights and unions, her campaign asserts.

STATE REP. Vanessa Lowery Brown hosted a Women’s History Month Celebration last Saturday at the African American Museum. There were interactive workshops for ages five and up in yoga, dance, storytelling and a book signing. She posed here with two DanceFit instructors.

Elizabeth is running for state representative in the 184th Legislative District in South Philadelphia.

“Elizabeth Fiedler is the kind of visionary legislator we need in Harrisburg. She supports policies that all working families need like fully funded public education, universal health care, and a living wage,” said PASNAP President Patricia Eakin.

The campaign claims to have raised more than $70,000 through more than 560 individual contributions.

Rowan Is Endorsed by Firefighters

South Philly native Jonathan “JR” Rowan’s campaign for state representative in the 184th Legislative District was endorsed by the International Association of Fire Firefighters Local 22.

“JR Rowan has been a fighter for South Philadelphia for over 20 years,” said IAFF Local 22 VP Chuck McQuilkin. “He understands the legislative process and will support laws that protect and properly fund our fire fighters, paramedics, and facilities.”

Rowan thanked McQuilkin and pointed out that South Philadelphia is home to a significant number of fire fighters and their families.

181st Dist.: González in; Lewis Thomas out, Please!

Community activist Gilberto González is running for Democratic nominee for the 181st Pennsylvania Legislative District in North Central.

“Growing up in the 181st District, I’ve seen the terrible consequences of deep poverty that have afflicted our community for generations,” he said. “But I’ve also seen a community that is full of pride, a strong work ethic, wisdom, goodness and promise.”

He helped create Girard Nights, which engaged local businesses and artists in revitalizing the Girard Avenue business corridor; the Pennsylvania Handball Association and its first citywide tournament for at-risk youth; and award-winning documentaries that present the complex history of a Puerto Rican neighborhood in Philadelphia.

González graduated from the University of the Arts. He is co-president of the American Federation of Teachers Local 2026 at CCP, where he is a graphic designer and hosts the college’s community television program “Entre Nosotros.”

Gil received Concilio’s “Community Activist” of the year award for his efforts to save La Milagrosa Church.

And then there’s Lewis Thomas III, a political consultant with a record of harvesting allegations of election violations and false credentials. He too seeks to represent the 181st. He shouldn’t.

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