Anne Dicker Runs in the 175th: A real progressive puts her money where her mouth is

Anne Dicker, one of the Democratic Party’s emerging young leaders and a leader amongst Philadelphia progressives announced yesterday that she would run for the Democratic nomination in the 175th District of the Pennsylvania House of Representatives. This race is for the open seat due to State Rep. Marie Leder’s retirement. This district covers the parts of the lower NE, Fishtown, Northern Liberties, the 5th ward, Society Hill, Queen Village and parts of Bella Vista, and South Philly.

According to a press release Anne put out:

“As the representative of the 175th district, I will never cease to stand up for every single one of my constituents,” Dicker said. “They are my neighbors and my friends, and they deserve a State House that works for all Pennsylvanians – not for self-interest or corporate interests. We will win by engaging citizens in one of the largest grassroots campaigns in the district’s history.”

Anne Dicker is best known in Philadelphia for her strong leadership of Philly for Change. Anne is the one who led the transition of Philly for Dean into Philly for Change. Anne understood how fed up Democrats were of losing elections and losing our values in the process. She was able to put that understanding to work by organizing Philly for Change to support progressive stances on local, state and national issues and also to motivate people to support progressive candidates.

Now, Anne is a progressive candidate and she is going to break new ground again by winning a primary challenge against an opponent who will likely be better funded and connected. How is she gonna do that?

Click “read more” below to find out.

After becoming one of the youngest executives in her company’s history and despite the financial risk, Dicker left her position at Spencer Gifts to re-build the Democratic Party full-time. Along the way, she co-founded Philly for Change – a 3,000 member grassroots organization that encourages and enables ordinary Pennsylvanians to take a stand against conservative policies. She led the fight against Social Security privatization, organized efforts to increase the minimum wage, and demanded accountability when the Commonwealth Legislature gave themselves a pay raise without public oversight.

Again, according to Anne:

“I’ve worked to change politics as we know it, first through Howard Dean’s presidential campaign, then through Philly for Change, and now I want to bring change to Harrisburg,” Dicker said. “When I’m elected to the State House, I will work tirelessly to raise the minimum wage, to make our neighborhoods safe for all residents, to improve access to quality education for our kids, and to continue the benefits of development while making sure that no resident is left behind.”

While we are lucky to have a city that is almost fully represented by Democrats at the state level, there is some stagnation that occurs locally. Philadelphia Democratic politics rely heavily on ward leader endorsements and low voter-turnout to allow incumbents to stay in power.

The more entrenched a elected becomes in a position of power, the less likely they are to do anything to rock the boat (there are obviously some notable excpetions, but this is the norm).

This is especially true when the base that re-elected you year after year is motivated more by personal relationships and favors than it is by a pure and simple belief that government should serve all of the people all of the time.

The result of all this stagnation is that we don’t often think about or understand how important the state leg is. We don't get our doors knocked on by state reps running for reelection. In fact, in my community at least, we don’t even talk much about our state rep or pay much attention to the job that he is doing in Harrisburg.

Yet, half, if not more of the funds that support services and that fund government programs that impact our lives every day (like education, healthcare, civil rights protections, roads, transit, air quality, water pipes, to name a few) are under the purview of state government. So, leaving aside the trouble posed by the Republican majority in Harrisburg (the true success of devolution and federal states rights advocates in the past 30 years), let’s ask ourselves, are our city’s Democratic state reps doing enough?

Anne believes that state government is supposed to serve the common good. As such she is running to make her community better by promoting fair and equitable development and addressing issues like jobs, healthcare, education, safety and civil rights that matter.

Beliefs absent of a plan to communicate and build support are useless though. Luckily Anne has experience and skill taking her vision for change to real people and showing them hoe to make it happen. That’s why Anne is going to knock on literally thousands of doors in the next few months to prove that a non-moneyed, straight to the people campaign for government can win.

And not only can it win, but it SHOULD win. Anne is going to help bolster the movement for person-to-person voter contact and engagement that will not only change the face of our legislature but will help rebuild the networks of people that should be at the basis of all community.

I am proud to be a supporter of Anne Dicker and I hope that you will too. You can hear Anne speak tomorrow night at Philly for Change, which will meet at 7:00 PM at the Blarney Stone on Sansom, between 39th and 40th.

You can also meet Anne at the Liberty City Candidate’s night (of which there will be over 15 or 20) at 6:30 Pm at the William Way Center at Spruce and Juniper.

True Grassroots

Anne Dicker's race will be a true test of how effective we can be at the local level. Like Anne, we're young, energetic and ready to elect one of our own to the state house. Let's get out there and show them the power of the grassroots!

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