The first question anyone will ask a prospective candidate is, why do you want to run for office? My answer is simple—because today’s problems demand something new, bold and visionary. They require a new generation of leadership with a fresh perspective on governance. I’ve decided to run because I believe we need someone who will not simply restore faith in government, but redefine the relationship between government and its constituents. I can no longer sit on the sidelines and watch insider politics continue to corrupt and destroy public service.
My campaign for mayor is not simply about the city of Allentown, it’s about radically changing the political narrative in the United States and progressing the state of Pennsylvania. I believe in American Localism, or what I call the metropolitan movement. In the United States, national politics has stifled and overwhelmed the significance of local political institutions and their power to shape the lives of those they serve. In the United States, the 100 largest metro areas comprise 66% of the nation’s population and ¾ of its GDP. The state of Pennsylvania is conversely no different; its five largest metro areas represent an equal share of the state’s population and GDP. Now more than ever, we need to consolidate and concentrate the vast power of people politics and grassroots funding to take control of these areas. Once progressives control cities, we can implement a host of bold policies that will serve as testing grounds, as well as an opportunity to demonstrate their benefit to every citizen. The cities of the nation and metropolitan areas they control can take the lead on raising the minimum wage, protecting the environment and building a 21st century economy that doesn’t leave anyone behind. We will no longer be held back by polarization or short-termism. We will be defined by our concern for others and a desire to make productive policy that truly improves the lives of every individual. From here we can use our resources and support to start taking back statehouse, congressional seats, and statewide offices. This is how we take the country back, this is where we make our stand.
As a mayoral candidate, I’ve worked to draft a comprehensive policy agenda designed to lead the way in PA and throughout the country. The city of Allentown is a tragic example of special interests, unchecked authority and the perils of the democratic establishment. The city and mayor are currently under FBI investigation in a pay-to-play scandal which has permanently shaken confidence in the city and its leaders. The city’s special tax development zone, the NIZ, has created an environment of tax-payer subsidized wealth that has largely benefited one developer. Corruption is rampant and good governance is scarce. Other mayoral candidates have stepped in with ties to big money in Washington, D.C and at the county level, but the city desperately needs an outsider, a principled leader who will fight for progressive values.
That’s why my primary concern is removing the power of money from politics at the municipal level, and granting every citizen the opportunity to participate in the democratic process, regardless of their financial means. The state of Pennsylvania currently imposes no limits on campaign contributions, leading to corruption and unchecked power of special interests. My first acts as mayor will be to implement campaign contribution limits on personal and super PAC donations well below federal guidelines, to forever remove the influence of money from politics. I’ll then work to develop a democracy voucher system, so every citizen can contribute and to a candidate of their choosing and instill a system of grassroots funding. I’ll implement Instant Ranked Voting to encourage diversity among candidates and to break the mold of the two party system, and start the state’s first participatory budgeting system. These reforms are about rebuilding trust, empowering voters and insulating the process from big money. I’ll fight for these policies around the state in the five largest metro areas and bring transparency to the state of Pennsylvania.
In keeping with my promise, I intend to show people the good government can do in their lives, and give people a reason to trust it. There are many who say “get government off of my back”, but my response is that government should have your back. It should be there to protect, promote and provide all means of help. As a mayoral candidate, I’ve developed plans to do everything from providing universal access to pre-k education, to creating a community wide health initiative to fight obesity. I want to draft a homeless bill of rights and implement a housing-first policy to deal with the cities’ homeless, and pass an ordinance creating inclusionary zoning. I’d advise everyone to check my website and review the range of issues I intend to deal with.
This campaign is about planting the seeds of change in PA to start the metropolitan movement nationwide. A victory in this city will spread through Pennsylvania, and provide us with the resources and power to take back the statehouse and statewide office, to make Pennsylvania a permanent blue state in presidential elections, and secure the governorship. This not my campaign, it’s everyone’s campaign. As progressives, we must view every victory whether from Oregon to Ohio, Portland or Philadelphia as a victory for all of us. This is our movement, our chance to take back the party, take back our country and stand up for our values nationwide. Please donate to this campaign and join this movement, start fighting to take back your city and your metro area. Together, we will lead this nation towards brighter tomorrow.