Nina Ahmad Receives Over 4,000 Signatures For Lt. Gov.

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After declaring her candidacy only 8 days ago, Nina Ahmad on Wednesday filed 4,289 signatures to be the next Lieutenant Governor of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania according to a press release.

Canvassers in 11 counties gathered signatures for Ahmad, who filed more than 200 signatures from 7 counties.

“I want to thank all of the wonderful volunteers and everyone who helped make this petition drive a success. We couldn’t have put together this monumental effort in only one week without their efforts – even the nor’easter couldn’t stop them. I am truly humbled by their belief that we need a strong new voice to represent us in this office,” said Ahmad in the press release.

“We’re going to have serious debates throughout the course of this campaign, and there are many issues we need to address, like ending sexual harassment in Harrisburg, bringing new 21st century jobs to Pennsylvania, and making sure children in every ZIP code gets the same level of quality, public education. I look forward to speaking to voters around the Commonwealth about these topics and the issues that affect them daily.”

Ahmad pointed out the ground-breaking nature of her candidacy. Currently, Pennsylvania has no women elected to statewide executive offices or Congress. She would be the first person-of-color elected to a non-judicial statewide office in PA, the first Asian-American elected statewide in PA, and the second woman to serve as Lieutenant Governor.

Maria Donatucci seeks re-election to 185th District

State Rep. Maria P. Donatucci of Philadelphia, announced she is seeking her fifth term serving residents of the 185th Legislative District in the Pennsylvania House of Representatives according to a press release on Monday.

“Representing the 185th district has been a great joy and passion of mine. It is an honor to be a voice for Philadelphia and Delaware County in Harrisburg. In the most recent legislative session, I have had the distinguished honor of serving as Chair of the Philadelphia Delegation where I’ve had additional opportunities to play a more integral role in preserving and protecting the interests of our great city of Philadelphia,” Donatucci explained in the press release.

Donatucci first took office following her special election win in February 2011, filling the seat vacated by her late husband, Robert Donatucci who represented the district from 1980 until his passing in November 2010.

Donatucci is a member of the Appropriations, Labor and Industry, Liquor Control, Transportation and Veterans Affairs and Emergency Preparedness committees. The fourth-term legislator credits her membership on these committees with giving her a seat at the table to directly impact key legislative initiatives that allow her to continue to fight for workers’ rights and advocate for improved public safety, common sense gun safety measures, and education.

“I am privileged to support a variety of meaningful and diverse legislative initiatives. I will continue my support of unions and to fight for working families to enjoy living wages, equal pay for equal work, and paid sick leave,” pledged Donatucci.

Angel Cruz reminds about Parking Amnesty Program

State Rep. Angel Cruz, D-Phila., reminds people that the City of Philadelphia now is offering a program to forgive older unpaid parking tickets and that his district office staff can help them navigate the process according to a press release.

The Parking Amnesty Program runs now through April 30 and will forgive any unpaid parking tickets issued before 2013 as long as a person does not have unpaid parking tickets between Jan. 1, 2013 and Dec. 31, 2017. The release added that if someone has parking tickets from between those dates, they must pay them either in full or under a payment plan before the tickets issued prior to 2013 are forgiven.

Cruz said the program does not cover any traffic or moving violation tickets.

“Whether it’s a matter of forgetting to pay them or having financial difficulty, dealing with unpaid parking tickets can be a burden but should be addressed,” Cruz said in the release. “My staff and I are available to help people with the process and come up with a plan to resolve these unpaid tickets.”

PHA given grant to redevelop Bartram neighborhood

The Philadelphia Housing Authority (PHA) has won a Choice Neighborhoods Initiative (CNI) Grant from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) toward the redevelopment of Bartram Village and the surrounding neighborhood in Southwest Philadelphia according to a press release.

The $1.3 million award includes both Planning and Action grants; $300,000 for planning costs and $1 million in flexible funds used for physical community development or economic development projects that enhance and accelerate the transformation of the neighborhood the release also added.

“We look forward to working with the residents and stakeholders of Bartram Village and the Kingsessing community in this multi-year planning process,” said PHA President and CEO Kelvin Jeremiah in the press release. “We’ll move thoughtfully, consulting residents, stakeholders, and local leaders as any redevelopment plans are drawn and proposed.”

“Congratulations to PHA for winning this highly competitive grant,” said Mayor Jim Kenney in the release. “The planning process is the first step to rebuilding one of the city’s oldest public housing sites as well as the neighborhood around it. PHA has used two previous Choice Neighborhood grants effectively in other parts of the city and I look forward to the agency doing the same in Kingsessing.”

“Choice Neighborhoods funding provides the opportunity for the community to work with PHA to plan for the comprehensive change they want to see,” said Anne Fadullon, Director of Planning and Development for the City. “The physical and social improvements identified through this process will mean a brighter future for Kingsessing.”

Leaders of the Pennsylvania Legislative Black Caucus thanked Gov. Tom Wolf for calling gun violence a crisis during his visit to Philadelphia last week according to a press release.

State Rep. Jordan Harris, D-Phila., chairman of the PLBC, hosted Wolf as the governor and PLBC members visited a memorial to local victims of gun violence.

The governor and legislators then held a public roundtable with members of the local community who have been affected by gun violence as well as other local leaders, including Philadelphia Police Commissioner Charles Ramsey.

“Illegal gun violence in Pennsylvania is a public health crisis and it’s important that we call it that,” Harris said.

“We must be concerned about the neighborhood shootings that take lives one or two at a time as well as the tragic mass shootings that tend to dominate the headlines. Every victim matters.

“So we appreciate Gov. Wolf coming to Philadelphia and calling illegal gun violence what it is – a public health crisis. We look forward to working with the administration to identify resources to help stem the tide of gun violence in our communities.”

“We do need to make sure we are approaching this as the health crisis that this is,” Wolf added.

“We need to make sure that we do everything we can to change the mindset of a nation, a whole nation, that is taking an entirely too casual approach to gun violence.”

– Phillip Jackson | The Philadelphia Tribune