Game On: Update Petitions

Both major candidates have now filed in the heating up race for Congress in the newly drawn 7th Congressional District.  Republican incumbent Pat Meehan announced today he has filed 4,750 signatures with the PA Department of State to become an official candidate.  A minimum of 1,000 signatures is required.  Democrat George Badey says he has submitted in excess of 3,000 signatures, gathered from all 5 counties in the 7th.  Badey says he is “gratified by the support” which he garnered in about 3 weeks since enterting the race only recently.  He says a formal announcement of his candidacy will come in the next couple of weeks.

Badey vs. Meehan in PA 7th.

Attorney George Badey, of Radnor, continues his steady march toward officially declaring his candidacy for Congress as a Democrat and challenging incumbent Congressman Pat Meehan, a Republican, in the 7th Congressional District.

Badey tells me today that he continues to concentrate on gathering signatures on his candidacy petitions ahead of Tuesday’s filing deadline. He appeared comfortable in getting more than enough signatures.

Badey, chair of the Radnor Democratic Committee, indicated that he will wait until after the filing deadline to declare his candidacy in a formal event and that it may not be immediately after the deadline.

Courtesy Meehan for Congress

 

The Meehan campaign responded today to how the race is shaping up. Campaign spokesperson John Elizandro says, “Congressman Meehan is focused on his agenda to create jobs and strengthen our economy, and he looks forward to a vigorous campaign with whomever is nominated.”

The race is likely to get a lot more direct. Assuming Meehan and Badey become the nominees, this could be among the area’s most active races with clear distinctions of political philosophy.

As for the 7th District itself, Democrat Joe Sestak had the job in Congress, having defeated Republican Curt Weldon, but Sestak decided not to seek a third term in 2010. Republican Meehan entered the race and easily won his first term.

The 7th is newly drawn after the last census. While the district still includes Delaware County and its large population, it on the books appears more Republican than before. It now includes Delaware County and parts of Chester, Lancaster, Berks and Montgomery Counties. However, Democrats say Barack Obama still got more votes in 2008, about 4 percent, within the new district lines than John McCain.

Laying the Foundation/Saving the Future

A big Mummers Strut forward today for the Mummers and several  other Philadelphia organizations.  At a news conference at the Mummers Museum, U.S. Representative Bob Brady and the Greater Philadelphia Traditions Fund, Inc., announced that money has been found and the Fund established to make sure that the community parades and festivals of at least 10 well-known groups will go on.

To be clear, there is some disagreement in the city over what the final mandatory costs will be from the City of Philadelphia for each parade or festival, but the significance of today’s announcement is that a secure, nonprofit foundation of dollars dedicated to preserving the freedom of expression of tradition, ethnic, heritage and community pride has been established. Ideally, this will also free up the organizations to raise money for the content of their own events and other organizational needs.

Congressman Brady reports that philanthropist Gerry Lenfest has agreed to contribute $500,000 over 5 years and that other donations are in the works to guarantee that $7,500 is available per organization per parade to pay the city. Adds Brady, “We can guarantee that these events will go on for the next 5 years.” Brady says the new Greater Philadelphia Traditions Fund expects more donors and he’s confident there’ll soon be enough money in the fund to guarantee the next 10 years.

Greg Montanaro, President of Greater Philadelphia Traditions, Inc., called today a celebration and that today’s announcement will hopefully secure these parades and festivals for the foreseeable future. Joining Brady and Montanaro were representatives from the Mummers, the Odunde Festival, the Columbus Day Parade, The Von Steuben Day Parade, the Puerto Rican Day Parade, the Greek Independence Day Parade, the Gay Pride Parade, the Pulaski Day Parade, the St. Patrick’s Day Parade and the Chinatown Mid-Autumn Festival.

Al Taubenberger, President of the Greater Northeast Philadelphia Chamber of Commerce and Chair of the Von Steuben Day Parade Committee, says today’s revelation is very positive and that, “What Congressman Brady has done is really a great relief to all the ethnic parades.” George Badey, Chairman of Save the Mummers, commented, “Congressman Brady has been a Godsend for the Mummers and the other organizations.”

 A passionate Bob Brady says, “You start losing your traditions and you start losing your identity…This is Philadelphia. We start losing this and we lose Philadelphia.” The Congressman adds that he’ll keep negotiating with the city and that if there are further costs above the $7,500 figure they are working with, he’s confident they can be handled as long as he, the organizations and the city keep working together. Brady said of Mayor Michael Nutter, “The mayor has been completely cooperative,” and that Mayor Nutter has said the city will not stop parades.