"These Places Matter"
John Fetterman, a man for all cities, in push for Lieutenant Governor bid
Braddock Mayor John Fetterman — a former U.S. Senate candidate and, more importantly, a nationally-recognized figure for his part in ongoing, progressive efforts to rethink, reclaim, reshape and revitalize one of the Pittsburgh region's poorest (and, in recent years, most innovative) towns — is now vying to win the 2018 Pennsylvania Lieutenant Governor's race.
Following a recent visit to Erie to locally announce his Democratic candidacy for the Lt. Governor's position, Fetterman took some time to catch up with the Reader in a nice little late-night chat.
Here's some of what he had to say:
Ryan Smith: So, tell me, from your perspective, how has the climate, so to speak, changed here in Pennsylvania and across the country over the past couple of years?
John Fetterman: You hate to admit it, but you can't ignore it: Trump is the big news. When I ran for Senate [in 2015], it was the joke. Now, the joke's on us. [And] things feel different on the road. ...It's a critical year for Democrats in Pennsylvania.
RS: So why should folks here in Erie and across the state listen to you — and, ultimately, vote for you for the Lt. Governor's position?
JF: [Pennsylvania's Lt. Governor] has been an under-utilized office … as far as using it to advocate for a lot of progressive [platforms and ideas]. [And, with statewide party control at stake], I'm the strongest candidate to help Gov. Wolf win. That's really my only priority in 2018.
RS: I've said this before — and I mean it as a compliment: You don't come off as any kind of typical politician. So why seek out higher political offices?
JF: I take that as a compliment. I consider myself a social worker who chose elected office to advance the ideas I believe in. …[Pennsylvania is full of communities] that deserve to be believed in, second-chance cities that deserve another opportunity to thrive and be reinvested in. ...That's my back-of-the-envelope elevator pitch: these places matter.
RS: And, just assuming you win the Lt. Governor's position, what about your place in — and commitment to — Braddock?
JF: It would never change. I would remain in Braddock as a base, and would commute [for work at the state's capitol and elsewhere]. [And] my commitment to Braddock wouldn't change. ...It's not so much that I would be moving on, but moving up — to help Braddock as well as other [communities across the state].
Now, as before, Fetterman keeps telling prospective voters that it's the real issues facing real people that will continue to be the forces behind his drive toward larger-scale political arenas. For our sake, Mayor — and for the sake of what could be some real, true progress in Pennsylvania — please don't ever let that change.
To learn more about John Fetterman and his run for the position of Lt. Governor of Pennsylvania, visit johnfetterman.com.
Ryan Smith can be reached at email@example.com, and you can follow him on Twitter @ryanmsmithplens.