The heart of leadership is personified when we use our natural abilities, any talent we possess, and any success we have achieved to help others. The strongest leaders I have known dedicated themselves and their unique talents to working in government. So often today we hear the word referred to in a strangely negative tone. The heart of politics though is government, which was founded on the premise that each citizen must and should be protected.
My mom says she named me Robert because it means "protector" in Latin.
She says she always knew I would be in politics. Today I know she is proud that I am a protector who has spent my life helping people, first as a Philadelphia city committeeman, today as a United States congressman, and tomorrow as mayor. And I know it warms her heart to know that I have been able to help Philadelphia, and all Philadelphians through politics.
To me, politics means knowing your neighbors; it means knowing the challenges your community faces; it means caring enough to be involved.
Throughout my career, because I was involved in politics, I have been called on by mayors, governors, and working men and women to bring warring factions together for good effect. And in my journey from an out-of-work father to the halls of the U.S. Congress, I have made it my business to help any group or individual who could benefit from my unique leadership abilities.
Over the years, by putting my ego aside, I was able to lead the successful resolution of a 41-day SEPTA strike, avert a Philadelphia teachers strike, and help end the recent Community College of Philadelphia strike. By working to resolve labor issues that have a negative impact on our quality of life, I believe that I have demonstrated to Philadelphians that I have what it takes to bring people together. Because, at the end of the day, being mayor is not about dictating; it is about collaboration and working to help create a better Philadelphia for everyone - it's about helping your neighbors.
As a congressman, I am tremendously proud that our hospitals are the nation's finest, thanks to millions of dollars I secured in Washington.
Representing one of the most diverse districts in the country, stretching from South Philadelphia to sections of North Philadelphia and the Northeast, I am comfortable listening to and seeking the counsel of people from each of these diverse communities. The mayor of Philadelphia must represent not a single neighborhood, or a single community, but must instead be responsive to the concerns of the entire city.
Now I am running for mayor to help our city out of what can only be described as a crime epidemic. My vision for Philadelphia is simple: I want people to be proud of their neighborhoods, and I want all Philadelphians to walk the streets free of fear. I will lead our city out of this crisis by personally leading our fight in Harrisburg and Washington to get Philadelphia's police, parole and probation officers the tools they need to protect us from criminals. That's why District Attorney Lynne Abraham, the Philadelphia Police Department, and the city's firefighters all endorsed me. They know that I will work day and night and lead our city out of this disgraceful period into the future.
Politics is the fabric of our society. Organizing behind a streetlight, an injustice, and sometimes an entire city's future is exactly why we all get into politics. I am proud when people call me political because it means that they know I believe in something. I believe in Philadelphia, and I believe that as mayor I can make it a terrific and safe place to call home.