Brian Abernathy* is dead right, about one thing at least. I desperately want to represent the voters of Philadelphia in Harrisburg. Not because I need the job, but because it’s time that first district voters had someone working for them in Harrisburg.
Like most people, I learned the value of self sacrifice and public service at home. My parents were devoutly Catholic and throughout my childhood we worked hard to extend a helping hand to those less fortunate than ourselves. At the age of eight, I helped my mother bake hundreds of pies to benefit our church, St. Boniface. When I was in my teens, our family worked with migrant farm workers, welcoming them to our church and making sure that they had access to social services.
This year, I celebrated my birthday shortly after announcing my candidacy, and my mother inscribed Psalm 101, the “prayer of the politician,: in my birthday card. It ends with the following passage, “No one who practices deceit, shall live in my house; no one who utters lies shall stand before my eyes. Morning by morning I will will silence all the wicked in the land; uprooting from the city of the Lord all who do evil.” Although I am no longer a practicing Catholic, I’ve adopted this as my personal prayer and guiding principle.
As your next State Senator, I will work tirelessly to reform the corrupt political process that has come to pass for governance in Harrisburg. The lobbyists have taken over the General Assembly and the result has been late night pay raises, casino bills without public hearings, and open records bills that actually make it more difficult to hold our elected officials accountable for their misdeeds.
We need a change of priorities in the Senate to make sure that Pennsylvania’s tax dollars are spent wisely and that we pass the kind of legislation that voters care about. If elected, I will work to halt the violence that is gripping Philadelphia’s streets; lead the fight for sensible and enforceable handgun legislation for all of Pennsylvania; and work to ensure that every child has access to good health care and quality public education.
As to Brian Abernathy’s characterization of my employment history, I’m disappointed that someone who I consider an ally in the fight to move the casinos has so recklessly slandered me in public. (For those of you not in the know, Brian is Frank DiCicco’s legislative aide, and primary liaison with the anti-casino movement.) Here’s a sample of my resume:
I took my first job at the age of 15 and worked my way through school. After college, I helped my father open up a college bookstore, which together we turned into a successful company with locations at three different campuses. I did this while attending Graduate School and holding down a job as a Geographic Information Systems analyst for the University of Toledo’s office of facilities management.
In 1996, I took my first job with medical benefits, working as a real estate consultant at the Buxton Company in Ft. Worth, Texas. I relocated to Philadelphia in 1998 through my job with Spencer Gifts. There, I rose from a lowly analyst to become the youngest junior executive in a $400 million company with 4000 employees and 700 stores in three countries.
In 2004, I left Spencer Gifts to pursue a life of community organizing. I’d caught the bug while volunteering for the Howard Dean campaign in 2003, and the next year I worked to bring out the Democratic vote as a field manager for the DNC. In 2004 I also founded Philly for Change, which has grown to become one of the largest and most active progressive grassroots organizations in Philadelphia.
In 2005-06, I worked, on a volunteer basis, as Field Director for the Patrick Murphy campaign before leaving to run to represent the 175th district in the Pennsylvania House of Representatives. We ran a tough race and came a close second behind Mike O’Brien and ahead of Terry Graboyes–who was supported by State Senator Fumo.
Had Brian done his homework, he would have seen that I have payed my fair share of the Philadelphia wage tax. However, pursuing political reform isn’t exactly lucrative. I can do this because I am frugal and because my husband, Simon, is incredibly supportive and understanding. Nonetheless, we’ve had to make real sacrifices in our lives, and home ownership in Queen Village, where we have lived for the past 9 years, is just out of reach.
It is obvious that the Fumo reelection effort is now officially under way, and I expect the lies and the slander to continue right up until the April 22nd primary election. These people are Fumo loyalists, and they consistently put the interests of the Senator above those of the people who elected him to office.
The truth is that after 30 years of Fumo, Philadelphia in ready for real change. I encourage your readers to contact the campaign and to sign up to volunteer. Our campaign depends on the hard work and support of thousands of Philadelphia voters. Together we can bring real accountability to Harrisburg.
Candidate for Pennsylvania’s First Senatorial District
*UPDATE: We just got off the phone with the REAL Brian Abernathy — legislative aide to Frank DiCicco, so read into this what you will — and he categorically denies sending the above letter. We believe him, we had to spell out P-H-A-W-K-E-R several times while directing him to our URL. We apologize to Mr. Abernathy for inadvertently allowing an impostor put words into his mouth.