As the primary election for City Council creeps closer and closer three new voices to lead Philadelphia’s 6th District seat in the Northeast are accelerating their campaigns to win votes.
For the first time in over 30 years Joan Krajewski will not be continuing her reign as the councilwoman for the 6th District, leaving her long-held seat open to this trio vying to be the new leader.
Krajewski, who is known as the “Queen of Constituent Service,” flirted with retirement a few years ago. In 2007 she retired for 24 hours after she was reelected in order to collect her $297,466 DROP retirement payment. She returned the very next day to begin her eighth term. This election, however, Krajewski is serious about retiring.
As Krajewski finishes up her final months in office, three new candidates have been busy walking down neighborhood streets speaking to residents sharing their respective ideas about changes for the community. The three candidates for the 6th District position are Bobby Henon, Marty Bednarek and Sandy Stewart.
Bednarek and Henon are both running as Democrats. Each is very focused on promoting his policies and ideas before the May 17 primary because only one will emerge from that election victorious. Stewart, the Republican candidate, will not need to worry about the upcoming primary election as she is running unopposed. Stewart’s current efforts are focused on general election on Nov. 8.
Bobby Henon, 42, has lived in Northeast Philadelphia all of his life where he’s been involved with local politics since he was 18 years old. Henon said he understands the need for change and added that he believes he can deliver. “I can bring fresh ideas. I will bring fresh ideas. I am not a novice at this. I have real life experience in dealing with communities, bringing jobs into the city, understanding what the neighborhoods are about and how much better they can be and a commitment to our citizens,” said Henon.
The Philadelphia Democratic Party has formally endorsed Henon. Philadelphia’s Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 5, the carpenters’ union and former Gov. Ed Rendell also endorsed Henon. Along with his wife and two young sons, Henon lives in the East Torresdale neighborhood.
Sandy Stewart, who is running for her first position in city government, has lived in Tacony for 11 years with her husband and two children. Working for herself as an interior designer, Stewart said she understands the struggles facing small businesses.
“We have a real problem when it makes more sense to go to our surrounding suburbs in Pennsylvania or over the bridge to New Jersey or even down to Delaware. We have a real problem when it makes more sense to not be in Philadelphia to do business. We are just at the end of the rope,” Stewart said.
Stewart is endorsed by International Association of Fire Fighters Local 22. She is completing an interior design degree at the Community College of Philadelphia.
Marty Bednarek also has strong ties to the 6th District as he was born and raised in Northeast Philadelphia. After serving as a commissioner for the School Reform Commission for Northeast Philadelphia Bednarek’s presence has been felt throughout the community for almost a decade.
“I felt that being as active as I have been in the neighborhood, that I wanted to continue to be active. I have done a lot of good things on the School Reform Commission for Northeast Philadelphia and I want to continue to do good things. I saw what I was able to do as a commissioner, so as a councilperson, I’d like to be able to continue to do the things that I helped the Northeast with,” Bednarek said. Retiring Councilwoman Krajewski, U.S. Rep. Allyson Schwartz, State Sen. Christine M. Tartaglione and the Labors Council 332 have endorsed Bednarek.
The Committee of Seventy and the League of Women Voters have been conducting a series of debates for each of the elections for the 10 districts for City Council. A debate with Stewart, Bednarek and Henon has been scheduled for Thursday, April 28 at the Tacony Free Library. For more information on the debate series, please see the Committee of Seventy’s website.
With five open seats this year, City Council will see the biggest turnover in 20 years. The primary is May 17, with polls open from 7 a.m. to 8 p. m.