Rich Lazer, Whitman Native, Seeks Congressional Seat

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ARDENT supporters of former Council aide and Deputy Mayor Rich Lazer gathered in Burke Playground in Whitman to boost their native son’s bid for a congressional seat.

It was very much a hometown crowd that awaited Rich Lazer at Burke Playground in the portside community of Whitman in South Philadelphia.

It was chilly as the sun set behind the jungle gym. Many of the more than 100 people who turned out were bundled up in hoodies – union hoodies (Electricians, Laborers, Steelworkers, Carpenters) and Mummers’ brigade hoodies. Many had known the 32-year-old Lazer all his life, as he was born and raised in this largely bluecollar neighborhood.

ON THE SAME team were, L-R, Councilman Mark Squilla, candidate Rich Lazer nd Laborers’ District Council Business Manager Ryan Boyer. Photo by Joe Stivala

Now he was announcing his campaign to represent them in U.S. Congress.

“As a kid growing up in this neighborhood, our lives revolved around this playground,” he told them. “Many of the friends I made in this playground are here tonight. Now my wife Lindsey and I bring our own children here to play.”

After graduating from LaSalle University, Lazer went to work for fellow South Philadelphian, then-Councilman Jim Kenney. When Kenney moved from City Council to the Mayor’s Office in 2016, Lazer accompanied him to become deputy mayor for labor. Lazer cemented deep ties with organizer labor across the city. On his watch, Philadelphia Federation of Teachers ended a five-year stalemate with the School District; the SEPTA strike in 2016 was rapidly settled; and collective bargaining was won for many service workers at the airport.

I.B.E.W. ACTIVIST Brian Stevenson, L, emceed the announcement for Rich Lazer.

Lazer worked with Kenney on a host of other issues, including criminal-justice reform, pre-K, pay equity, minority business development, LGBTQ rights and immigrants.

Lazer quit the Mayor’s Office to run for Congress when the State Supreme Court decreed a brand-new district, the 5th, after overturning of the gerrymandering 2011 congressional map. The 5th takes in about 100,000 residents of South and Southwest Philadelphia, including them with all Delaware County and a sliver of Montgomery County. It has no incumbent in the race, since Congressman Pat Meehan (R-Delaware) has pulled out of the race in the wake of a sex scandal.

He will not lack funding from organized labor, as the lineup of leaders in the playground showed. IBEW Local 98 (where his wife works) and Laborers District Council he can count on, as well as Sheet Metal Workers in all likelihood, since is the son of a member.

A LOT of people turned out for Lazer’s announcement in his home neighborhood. Photo by Joe Stivala

Lazer laid out a rigorously progressive package of goals, starting from the top. “I have the experience, drive and commitment to stand up to Donald Trump and the Republican leadership and support the working men and women of this district,” he said.

Lazer called for gun reform. He said he would “push back” against Republican efforts “who want to dismantle programs like Social Security and Medicare.” He demanded action on the opioid crisis.

On social issues, he was firmly liberal. “I will stand up for civil rights,” he said, “because a person’s opportunity should not be limited because of their race, gender, sexual orientation or income.”

He also touched on concerns about the soaring cost of higher education. He said he would “work to make college more affordable and address the student-loan debt crisis that is locking so many young people deep in debt before they can even get a job.”

Count on him to oppose Right to Work legislation at the federal level.

Lazer has served on the boards of Philadelphia Industrial Development Corp., Philadelphia Works Inc., Victim/Witness Services of South Philadelphia, Whitman Council and the Burke Playground Community Fund.

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2 Responses to Rich Lazer, Whitman Native, Seeks Congressional Seat

  1. How does south philly boy get to serve delco?
    Where are new jobs? Where is a corrupt union hack supporters fashionable?
    We need big jobs and make stuff. VOTE LIKE RINO. NO HARD RT. OR LEFT.
    Get illegals out of my world. Sanctuary city (philly)..are you serious?

    David Cohen went to comcast and corporate job’s pay better.

    Leo bloom
    April 9, 2018 at 3:15 pm

  2. This Lazer guy’s a complete dirtball. Just take a look at him, pudgy creep. What a loser. Really, who would elect this guy….?

    Curtos Mensch
    May 23, 2018 at 2:07 pm

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