Brad­dock mayor an­nounces bid for lieu­tenant gov­er­nor

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette - - Local news - By Chris Pot­ter

Pitts­burgh Post-Gazette

John Fet­ter­man, the mayor whose ef­forts to turn Brad­dock around have drawn na­tional me­dia at­ten­tion, an­nounced his cam­paign for lieu­tenant gov­er­nor Tues­day.

“The rea­sons I am run­ning for lieu­tenant gov­er­nor are the ex­act rea­sons I came to Brad­dock back in 2001” — to fight for pro­gres­sive is­sues in­clud­ing a higher min­i­mum wage, bet­ter po­lice-com­mu­nity re­la­tions and mar­i­juana le­gal­iza­tion, he said.

“I’m go­ing to be go­ing out all across Penn­syl­va­nia, cam­paign­ing [in] many of these for­got­ten places — sec­ond-chance ci­ties, what­ever you want to call them — that have be­come my pro­fes­sional pas­sion,” he told about 100 sup­port­ers in a Brad­dock­the­ater space.

Mr. Fet­ter­man, a Demo­crat who of­ten sports a Dickie-shir­tand-cargo-shorts ensem­ble, opened his five-minute speech jok­ing that “Ev­ery­one is here for a ma­jor an­nounce­ment. I’m wear­ing long pants to­day.”

Mr. Fet­ter­man later told re­porters he had no in­ten­tion of chang­ing his style, or his ad­dress. “I’m al­ways go­ing to live across the street from a steel mill,” re­fer­ring to the Edgar Thom­son works a stone’s throw fromthe event and his home.

Or­di­nar­ily, lieu­tenant gover­nors live in a three-story home in Fort In­diantown Gap. The job also comes with a $162,373 salary; as a part-time mayor, Mr. Fet­ter­man’s

salary is $150 a month, though he says he de­clines it.

Lieu­tenant gover­nors are elected sep­a­rately from the gov­er­nor, and in­cum­bent Lt. Gov. Mike Stack has been mired in con­tro­versy around al­le­ga­tions he mis­treated state em­ploy­ees. He has lit­tle re­la­tion­ship with Demo­cratic Gov. Tom Wolf, who is run­ning for re-elec­tion.

Mr. Fet­ter­man, who de­scribed Mr. Stack as “an­other can­di­date in this race,” told re­porters he would run on is­sues. “It’s just go­ing to be a pos­i­tive race­about our record and our ideas.”

Also run­ning are Ch­ester County Com­mis­sioner Kathi Coz­zone and Aryanna Ber­ringer, a Mur­rysville Iraq War vet­eran and pre­vi­ous con­gres­sional can­di­date.

Ms. Ber­ringer’s cam­paign re­acted to Mr. Fet­ter­man’s en­try with a state­ment say­ing she “fought my way out of poverty and served on the front lines of war. ... I’ve faced a lot harder chal­lenges in life than a po­lit­i­cal cam­paign, no mat­ter who or how many can­di­dates run.”

Mr. Fet­ter­man said he spoke to Mr. Wolf’s team be­fore de­cid­ing whether to run, and that they raised no ob­jec­tion — al­though “they’re not weighing in on the race.” He would, he said, be “a pro­gres­sive back­stop” for Mr. Wolf, sup­port­ing the ad­min­is­tra­tion’s agenda while us­ing his “bully pul­pit” to ad­vo­cate for com­mu­ni­ties like his own.

Mr. Fet­ter­man’s kick­off in­cluded an en­dorse­ment by Pitts­burgh Mayor Bill Pe­duto, who said that while many lead­ers fo­mented divi­sion be­tween com­mu­ni­ties, Mr. Fet­ter­man was “some­body who can not only speak for all, but who has proven through their lead­er­ship in a com­mu­nity that has been knocked down to its knees.”

Much of Mr. Fet­ter­man’s cam­paign mes­sag­ing, in­clud­ing an in­tro­duc­tory video, con­trasted him with Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump, whose 2016 cam­paign tar­geted the re­sent­ment of rust belt com­mu­ni­ties.

The two-minute video fea­tures shots of res­i­dents work­ing to­gether. Mr. Fet­ter­man laments that “the lead­er­ship in this coun­try will turn around and use towns and places like mine as props.” Turn­ing around places like Brad­dock, he said, means, “You’ve got to get busy liv­ing or get busy dy­ing.”

Mr. Fet­ter­man grew up in a York fam­ily that owned an in­sur­ance busi­ness, and later earned a mas­ter’s de­gree in public pol­icy from Har­vard Univer­sity. He moved to Brad­dock after par­tic­i­pat­ing in an Amer­iCorps pro­gram help­ing peo­ple earn high school equiv­a­lency diplo­mas. He ran for mayor of the dis­tressed city in 2005, win­ning by a sin­gle vote.

Al­though may­oral pow­ers in a bor­ough like Brad­dock largely are lim­ited to polic­ing, Mr. Fet­ter­man used non­profit ties and charisma to en­cour­age a turn­around. Ameni­ties in Brad­dock now in­clude an ur­ban gar­den and a brew­pub.

Brad­dock’s pop­u­la­tion has con­tin­ued to de­cline, though,and more than a third of its roughly 2,200 res­i­dents live be­low poverty level.

But Mr. Fet­ter­man’s ef­forts brought na­tional at­ten­tion, in­clud­ing a Levi’s ad cam­paign and news sto­ries that of­ten fea­ture his tat­toos — one for ev­ery res­i­dent mur­dered dur­ing his ten­ure as mayor — un­der head­lines such as “Mayor of Rust.”

Mr. Fet­ter­man ran for the U.S. Senate in 2016, and fin­ished third in a four-way Demo­cratic pri­mary.

Dar­rell Sapp/Post-Gazette

Brad­dock Mayor John Fet­ter­man hugs Delia Len­non-Win­stead of Brad­dock after he an­nounced his bid to seek the Demo­cratic nom­i­na­tion for lieu­tenant gov­er­nor on Tues­day. Ms. Len­non-Win­stead said she has been fol­low­ing Mr. Fet­ter­man’s po­lit­i­cal ca­reer from the be­gin­ning. To watch a video, visit post-gazette.com.

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