Michael A. Nutter
is mayor-elect of Philadelphia
Of the many images I carry with me from the days after the mayoral primary, one is of an editorial cartoon. In it, I am depicted as the quarterback standing behind an offensive line of Bob Brady, Chaka Fattah and Dwight Evans.
I was reminded of this image when I read your Nov. 29 editorial, "Wanted: New Political Blood."
The call for new blood in politics is one that I support. As the cartoon indicated, however, the city's other elected officials are also important. I want to outline why I think Brady is an important asset to my new administration. Both as a member of Congress and as head of the city's Democratic Party, he will be an important partner in the "New Day, New Way" agenda I have established for Philadelphia. Let me give you four reasons:
First, Brady's voting record supports the needs of Philadelphians. He has a 100 percent voting record with every civil-rights, women's-rights, and labor organization that rates Congress. He has supported the national Democratic agenda to provide funds for middle-class taxpayers, send more revenues to urban metropolitan areas, and enact health care and pension reform. He has a zero percent rating from the National Rifle Association. He will support my effort to get federal support for mass transit, low- and moderate-income housing, and funding for jobs for ex-offenders.
Second, fighting crime in Philadelphia will not come easy and it will not come cheap. The city will need to use every avenue to fund initiatives to put more police on the streets, purchase surveillance cameras, and upgrade equipment. The federal government must be our partner in this effort.
Now, for the first time in 25 years, we have a member of the Philadelphia congressional delegation sitting as chairman of a committee in the U.S. House of Representatives. Brady's rise to the leadership in the House means a seat at the table for all of us when federal dollars are distributed, and, therefore, more dollars to Philadelphia. For example, when the state needed federal legislation to allow for the tolling of I-80 to generate a dedicated revenue stream for SEPTA, Brady led the effort on the floor of the House.
Third, in my first year I will be called on to negotiate contracts with the city's four largest municipal unions. Brady worked hard to help settle labor disputes for the teachers, SEPTA, the Newspaper Guild, and, most recently, Philadelphia Community College. In the next year, we will need everyone's assistance in this area, and he will be an important part of that effort.
Fourth, Brady delivers resources for the Philadelphia region. In the last decade, he has been responsible for bringing nearly $3 billion in direct federal aid to our region.
If you have been treated at one of our hospitals, or educated in one of our universities, or crossed over the Platt Bridge at night, or walked through Independence National Historic Park or Schuylkill River Park, or if you have gone to the Franklin Institute or the Philadelphia Zoo, you have seen the results of his efforts in providing federal funds for important projects in his district.
Since the primary, Brady and I have had many discussions about the need to change the way we do business in Philadelphia. I believe he supports my agenda for reform in city government and the Democratic Party.
We should always encourage new people and young people to be involved in politics and public service. At the same time, there is much to be gained from experienced elected officials using their new leadership positions in a new Democratic majority in Congress to make our city better. For Brady, it's a new day in Congress, and we will all benefit.