State Sen. LeAnna Washington has told voters in the state's Fourth District all they need to know to bounce her from office in the May 20 Democratic primary. The question is, were they listening? And if so, do they care?
Washington has been charged with misuse of office for requiring taxpayer-funded staff to raise money for her campaigns. According to a grand jury report, when a staffer questioned the activity, she replied, "I'm the f-ing senator. I do what the f- I want."
Voters have no reason to reward such arrogance. But even before her arrest in March, Washington had proven herself unworthy of representing the district, which includes parts of Philadelphia and Montgomery Counties. She has missed votes 30 percent of the time. She even failed to vote on issues as vitally important to her constituents as Medicaid expansion and the voter-ID law, which could disenfranchise thousands.
Fortunately, two highly qualified candidates are running in the Democratic primary to replace Washington. Brian Gralnick, who has worked in state government and for nonprofits focused on antipoverty and aging issues, is an encyclopedia of possible solutions to the district's problems. But ART HAYWOOD, a seasoned public-interest lawyer with a history of community service, is the best choice.
Haywood's thoughtful approach to problem-solving and willingness to transcend party labels for the public's benefit are needed. He also has experience as an elected official, having served since 2009 on Cheltenham Township's Board of Commissioners, including two years as president.
During that time, Haywood has corralled federal and state officials to work on the township's severe flooding problems. He has also been a strong advocate for public education, working with Arcadia University to start a tutoring program for township students.
Haywood helped families fight foreclosure as a Community Legal Services lawyer, and in private practice he has represented nonprofits. With strong ties to the city, he understands that legislators from Philadelphia and its suburbs must work together to protect the interests of the region that is the state's most important economic engine.