Philly City Council Candidate Ori Feibush Seeks to Build Profile (VIDEO)

There are still over 240 days until the primary election, but Ori Feibush, the Democratic candidate for Philadelphia City Council in the 2nd District is not wasting anytime getting started.

Feibush released an extensive profile video in which citizens of South Philly, specifically the Point Breeze neighborhood, spoke highly of him and why they believe he is the right man for City Council.

One man credits Feibush with helping fight plight in the neighborhood, saying, “The plight is quickly decreasing and a lot of is it due to Ori.”

Another woman commented that he was “about revitalizing the neighborhood, right then and there.”

According to his official website, Feibush worked with then-Councilwoman Verna to demolish several blighted houses in the neighborhood. Once complete, he personally fenced in vacant lots, and installed new lights and security cameras.

“This was the first community that I moved in that was a true community,” Feibush says. “It wasn’t a neighborhood. There are individuals here that care deeply about their neighbors, care deeply about the residents around them and for the first time I really felt welcome. I really felt that it was an opportunity to be a part of something.”

Philadelphia’s 2nd Council District seat is currently occupied by Kenyatta Johnson. The 2nd District covers parts of Center City, South and Southwest Philadelphia, as well as the Navy Yard, and the Point Breeze neighborhood.

Nelson Diaz Hints at Philly Mayoral Candidacy

If we’re reading Nelson Diaz YouTube video correctly, we may just have another entrant in the race for Philly mayor.

Though Diaz has yet to commit to run for Mayor of Philadelphia, he hired Elliot Curson to make that video. The veteran ad man said that Diaz was “actively exploring” a mayoral run.

Diaz, a former common pleas judge and Philadelphia City Solicitor, uses the autobiographical Youtube spot to highlight key points in his life that have influenced his political career.

Born in Harlem, New York to a single mother, Diaz grew up in public housing before becoming the first in his family to attend college. He graduated from St. John’s University and was recruited to attend the Beasley School of Law at Temple University.

Highlighted in the ad is Diaz’ time at Temple Law where he was the first Puerto Rican to receive his Juris Doctorate. While at Temple, Diaz founded the school’s first student organization devoted to black and Hispanic law students. Additionally, he helped minority students successfully gain admission to Temple and increased the school’s Hispanic and African-American populations.

As he began his political career, Diaz continued to be the first in many of his pursuits. For example, he was the first Puerto Rican admitted to the Pennsylvania State Bar Association. He went on to also be the first Hispanic elected to the Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas, where he served as judge for 12 years.

Outside of Philadelphia, Diaz worked for the Clinton Administration as the first Latino general council to the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) where he developed plans to reform public and mixed-use housing programs. Diaz also gained Washington experience as a special assistant to former Vice President Walter Mondale on a White House Fellowship in 1977.

A champion of the Latino community, especially concerning its representation in politics, Diaz has served on the Democratic National Committee Hispanic Caucus and the Mexican American Business Association.

As a longtime Philadelphia resident and politician, Diaz states in the ad that “every child deserves a decent education” and believes that “we can do more to bring businesses and jobs to Philadelphia.” He intends to surround himself with the “best and brightest” to make Philadelphia “move forward.”

The formal candidates for Mayor of Philadelphia include Terry Gillen, former aide to Mayors Nutter and Rendell, and Ken Trujillo, former city solicitor under Mayor John Street.

Abraham Announces She Intends to Run for Mayor of Philly

LynneAbrahamThere are now three candidates who have declared their intention to run for Mayor of Philadelphia, with former DA Lynne Abraham tossing her hat in the ring.

In statements made to the Philadelphia Inquirer, the 73 year-old Democrat indicated that after much contemplation, she will soon enter the race.

“I’m not prepared to make any announcement, but I am not keeping it a secret that I’ll be entering the race,” declared Abraham.

Her reluctance to announce most likely stems from comments made by Congressman and Democratic party leader Bob Brady, who denounced Terry Gillen’s early entry into the race. Brady is focused on the short term priority of assisting Tom Wolf in his gubernatorial bid and believes “its a little disrespectful” to focus on the 2015 primary before the 2014 general elections have occurred.

The former DA, who was elected five times throughout her tenure, will also have to compete with Ken Trujillo, the former City Solicitor, who officially entered the fray this morning.

Abraham has not announced the specifics of her campaign platform only declaring, “I’m probably the only one who has the experience [to tackle] the most difficult problems facing the city.”

Trujillo Officially Enters Philadelphia Mayoral Race

kentrujilloThe field to determine the next mayor of Philadelphia grew today with the official entry of Democratic candidate Ken Trujillo.

In statements made Wednesday morning to the press regarding his candidacy for Mayor of Philadelphia, Trujillo outlined the steps he plans to take to “put Philadelphia first again.”

On the steps of The School District of Philadelphia building, Trujillo focused on the need to end state interference in Philadelphia’s public schools.

The state took over Philadelphia’s public schools in 2001 when former governor Tom Ridge and former Mayor John Street convened the The School Reform Commission (SRC.) The SRC’s leaders were appointed to address the chronically low test scores among Philadelphia public school children.

However, with 550,000 Philadelphia residents considered “low-literate”, Trujillo notes that the state takeover has failed and calls for the elimination of the SRC.

“It is time to give our children the tools they need to succeed by creating universal pre-kindergarten for every child in Philadelphia,” Trujillo said during the press conference. In reference to Philadelphia’s high illiteracy rate, he vowed, “As mayor, I’ll fight to cut the illiteracy rate in half. Illiteracy has to end in our generation.”

Transitioning away from schools, Trujillo addressed issues with the Philadelphia Police Department’s controversial stop-and-frisk policy.

This procedure has been questioned In light of a controversial video of two police officers harassing a youth during a stop-and-frisk procedure. The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) sued the Philadelphia Police for infringing on citizen’s civil liberties and while the case has since been settled, the controversy continues. Additionally, police are being investigated for racial profiling in the arrest of Christopher Fitzgerald, son of Allentown Police Chief, Joel Fitzgerald.

In recognition of these issue, Trujillo pledges that he will “will fight to end racial profiling by police in this city, and to have a zero-tolerance policy for police abuse. I want our police officers to be outfitted with body cameras to record their interactions, which will improve public safety and create greater accountability. We need to use smart policing, we need to use fair policing, and we need to use technology because all Philadelphians deserve to be safe in their neighborhoods.”

Lastly, as a small business owner himself, Trujillo promises to turn Philadelphia into the “small business capital of the world.” To fulfill this promise, he plans to expand on the Land Bank of Philadelphia to possibly give away “blighted, vacant lots” to small businesses to create jobs to generate new revenue for the city and revive Philadelphia’s struggling neighborhoods.

Trujillo is a Philadelphia-based lawyer who has previously served the city as city solicitor and as an Assistant U.S. Attorney. Trujillo joins Terry Gillen as the two candidates to officially announce their candidacy in the Democratic primary.

Ken Trujillo to Join Philadelphia Mayoral Race

TrujilloWhile most of our attention has been focused on November, the battle for the Democratic nomination in the Philly mayoral contest next May is starting to heat up.

Ken Trujillo, a Philadelphia lawyer who served as City Solicitor under former Mayor John Street, will hold a press conference Wednesday at 9:30 a.m. in front of the Philadelphia School District building to share his vision for Philadelphia. Chief among his concerns is educational reform for Philadelphia schools.

Trujillo considers his political path to be atypical. Born in Espanola, New Mexico he rose from impoverished beginnings to become the first in his family to attend college. Trujillo is a graduate of Penn Law and has served as an Assistant U.S. Attorney where he was best known for prosecuting various drug rings in North Philadelphia. Trujillo founded his own law firm, Trujillo Rodriguez & Richards, LLC in 1997. An Obama supporter, he worked on the President’s 2008 campaign as well as the transition team after the election.

“I really do think Philadelphia is at an inflection point,” he told the Inquirer earlier this year. “I think my experience prepares me well to offer a compelling vision for our future and lead a serious conversation about our city’s challenges on public schools, job creation, and crime.”

In joining the race, Trujillo has hired noted campaign manager Bill Hyers who ran the mayoral races for New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio and current Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter.

Trujillo has long been politically active, serving on the Pennsylvania Intergovernmental Cooperation Authority (PICA) and the Gaming Board Control Board overseeing the state’s finances. As city solicitor he redesigned gun control legislation for Philadelphia and other cities when he successfully sued top gun manufacturer Smith & Wesson, citing that their product had created a nuisance in Philadelphia. He also played a key role in the development of the Eagle’s Lincoln Financial Field and the Phillies’ Citizens Bank Park.

During this time, Trujillo launched the city’s leading anti-poverty organization, the Congreso de Latinos Unidos Inc. The nationally-recognized organization brings health and social services, comprehensive education and employment to over 14,000 individuals a year.

Trujillo joins Terry Gillen, former top aide to Mayors Michael Nutter and Ed Rendell, as the two candidates to officially declare their candidacy in the Democratic primary. There are still many potential candidates that may jump in the race, though, and no one is considered at the moment to be the favorite.

Gillen Announces Philadelphia Mayoral Run

terry-gillenTerry Gillen announced today that she is running to be Mayor of Philadelphia.

Gillen, the city’s first director of federal affairs, stressed an innovative campaign strategy, one that would break the mold of the political machine, so closely associated with Philadelphia’s past.

“I think that whole notion of how one gets elected in Philly is going away,” Gillen declared. “It’s changing. I think Mayor Nutter’s election was the beginning of that.  And I think we’re really on the verge of reshaping Philadelphia politics in a fundamental way.”

Stressing her past experience with two of the cities most prominent mayors, Gillen stated, “I think what people are looking for is someone who knows how to run a city, to be an executive and has experience in urban policy. I think I have all that.”

Defeated in her previous runs for City Council in 1999 and for the State House in 2004, Gillen, has started accepting funds for the upcoming race by way of a newly formed political action committee.

Among those expected to challenge for the Democratic nomination for Mayor are former City Solicitor Ken Trujillo, State Sen. Anthony Hardy Williams, City Controller Alan Butkovitz.

Councilman Jim Kenney, former Councilman Frank Rizzo Jr., and City Council President Darrell Clarke are also rumored to be in the hunt.

Philadelphia-Based Tea Party Group Changes Name, Shifts Focus

Tea-Party-MovementFive years after the Tea Party movement first gained steam, there are local signs that it may be starting to cool off.

The Independence Hall Tea Party Association, the largest Tea Party group in the tri-state region of PA, NJ, and DE, announced today that it will be removing “Tea Party” from its name and will henceforth be known as just the Independence Hall Foundation. The organization will also be shifting its focus and dissolving its PAC.

“We wish to pursue a larger, more mainstream conservative agenda-while respecting the mission of the broader Tea Party movement,” President Teri Adams said today at a press conference.

Adams claimed that although tensions between the Association and the national Tea Party movement exist, the Association’s decision to change its name and focus derives primarily from the Association’s belief that it has successfully achieved what it set out to do when it formed in 2009.

“While we have usually agreed with most Tea Party objectives, we have not always agreed on Tea Party tactics – especially those espoused by national groups – proving, despite its portrayal as such in the media, that the Tea Party was not monolithic,” she said.

“And just like the original Tea Party of the 18th Century, our organization envisioned the modern Tea Party as a protest movement – not necessarily a permanent social/political movement or party – but one which could lead to peaceful revolutionary changes in government.”

Adams focused throughout the conference on the successes of the Association, which was formed primarily to focus on the Philadelphia media market.

“Over the last five years, our Association, like the broader Tea Party movement in regions across the country, has made a difference,” she said. “We woke up many Americans to an ever-expansive and intrusive federal government.”

“More Americans seem to be aware of our nation’s alarming $16 trillion national debt and the scandals involving renegade bureaucracies, within the federal government, such as the Internal Revenue Service, the National Security Agency, and the Veterans Administration.”

In addition to discussing the broader Tea Party movement’s victories, she also highlighted the Association’s own accomplishments, pointing to its successful lobbying for a Voter ID bill that was eventually signed into law (but was later struck down as unconstitutional by a Commonwealth Court judge) and its annual Congressional Scorecard.

Adams claims that these successes are the reason for the organization’s rebranding, as it is “time to take matters to the next level.”

“While we obviously agree with the core principles of the Tea Party as clearly enunciated during those early 2009 Tax Day Tea Parties – a free enterprise economy based on lower taxes, smaller government, and less regulation – we would like to expand our efforts to include non-traditional tea party issues such as Religious Liberty, Sanctity of Life, Culture and the Arts, Educational Savings Accounts, Foreign Affairs, and Defense,” she said.

Adams closed with a description of what the Association hopes to be and to do as it changes its focus under a new name. “In the future, we wish to be referred to as The Independence Hall Foundation – a conservative educational organization dedicated to promoting the principles enshrined in our founding documents – the Declaration of Independence, the United States Constitution, and the Bill of Rights.”

Trujillo Forms “Leadership Team”, Hints at Race for Mayor of Philadelphia

TrujilloLawyer Ken Trujillo has not yet committed to running for mayor of Philadelphia in 2015, but he took yet another step forward today in preparation for the race.

Trujillo announced through a press release that he has formed a “Leadership Team” to run his still-not-definite campaign.

“Philadelphians have a unique opportunity to build a true 21st century city that expands our middle class and finally provides the world-class public education our children deserve,” he said. “That is why I’ve assembled a top-flight team of campaign professionals to help me lead a serious conversation with the people of Philadelphia about our future.”

The press release makes no mention of a decision regarding the race, but lists the professionals he has gathered to assist his campaign – if he decides to run.

Trujillo’s “Leadership Team” consists of individuals with ample campaign experience, many of whom have done campaign work for Democrats at varying levels of government.

Trujillo chose Jane Slusser, who worked extensively on President Obama’s re-election campaign in Philadelphia and NEPA, as his Political Director.

Vaughn Ross, who worked on the finance teams of both Senator Bob Casey and previous gubernatorial candidate Rob McCord, will serve as Trujillo’s Finance Director.

Bill Hyers and Jessie Bradley from Hilltop Public Solutions, a national political consulting firm, have also been chosen as part of his team. Hyers won the 2014 Campaign Manager of the Year award from the American Association of Political Consultants for his work in the comeback victory of NYC’s Mayor Bill de Blasio. Hyers and Bradley also worked together on Mayor Nutter’s campaign in 2007.

Trujillo will be using Greenberg Quinlan Rosner Research to perform polling, and has specifically hired Anna Greenberg from the firm. Greenberg is currently the lead pollster for gubernatorial candidate Tom Wolf.

Finally, Snyder Pickerill Media Group will be acting as Trujillo’s strategy and media firm. The firm worked on the campaigns of both Mayor John Street and Governor Ed Rendell.

“It is no secret that it is something that I am interested in and I am also taking all the steps to prepare for it,” Trujillo told the Inquirer in May about a potential campaign. With the formation of a “Leadership Team” with such a good track record, it looks like Trujillo is coming closer to a decision.

Leach Announces Creation of Progressive America PAC

Daylin-Leach-portrait-2013-loresA group of progressive lawmakers announced today the creation of Progressive America PAC, an organization dedicated to electing progressive candidates and advocating for progressive legislation.

The PAC’s board will be made up of some of Pennsylvania’s most progressive lawmakers, State Sen. Daylin Leach, State Rep. Brian Sims and State Rep. Mary Jo Daley.

“This PAC will be dedicated to recruiting, training, supporting, exposing and electing progressive candidates,” Sen. Leach said in a conference call announcing the PAC.

Leach, who unsuccessfully ran for the Democratic nomination in PA-13, mentioned that his experience partly inspired this effort. He noted that too often progressive PAC’s wait too late to get involved in campaigns and he found it much easier to fundraise after some of the prominent endorsements he received.

“We hope this to be almost like an EMILY’s List model for progressive candidates,” he said.

Concerning current issues, Leach stated that Progressive America PAC will focus on legislation to ban anti-LGBT discrimination and increase the minimum wage.

“We’re preparing to start in the 2015 cycle for local, state and national elections; particularly in contested primaries,” Leach said in summation of the group’s short-term future.

Reader Poll: Who is Pennsylvania’s Brightest Rising Star?

Kathleen-Kane-portrait1While Tom Corbett and Tom Wolf battle this year over the top job in the commonwealth, it might be easy to forget those promising politicians who will rise up in the years to come.

Last week, MSNBC’s Chuck Todd tackled just that question when he named four “rising political stars” from the Keystone State. The Daily Rundown crew ultimately chose two members from each party.

From the Democratic party, Attorney General Kathleen Kane and Montgomery County Commissioner Josh Shapiro were picked. While in the GOP, Chester County Commissioner Ryan Costello and State Rep. David Reed were named.

Todd’s segment gave us the idea to ask our readers which of the four they felt had the brightest future of all or whether they believed some politico was being left out of the conversation.

So, dear readers, who do you believe is Pennsylvania’s brightest rising star?

Who do you believe is Pennsylvania’s brightest rising star?

  • David Reed (27%)
  • Kathleen Kane (26%)
  • Someone else (23%)
  • Josh Shapiro (14%)
  • Ryan Costello (10%)

Total Voters: 1,575

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