Tony Payton

Progressive Star Tony Payton is 3d State Representative to Endorse Jeff Hornstein

State Representative Tony Payton Jr., a progressive leader who successfully made the transition from organizer to legislator, today became the third state representative to endorse Jeff Hornstein for City Council in the 1st district.

Hornstein, a longtime organizer who most recently served as organizing director of the SEIU Local 32BJ, also is vying to make that transition.

“The wave of support has been overwhelming and very inspiring, “ said Hornstein, who described Payton as a smart, young, progressive legislator who doesn’t accept politics as usual. “And neither will I, on City Council,” Hornstein said.

Prior to Payton’s announcement, Hornstein was endorsed by State Representative Mike O’Brien, who serves wards along the Delaware River, and by State Representative Babette Josephs, who serves parts of Center City and South Philadelphia.

Meet the Candidates at Philly For Change Meetup Tonight

You say you want to change Harrisburg?

You want the Democrats in DC to show some backbone?

Come out to Philly For Change Meetup tonight and meet some of the candidates we may be asking to represent us and do just that.

For the price of admission (free), you'll also get a rousing speech from progressive activist turned two term State Representative Tony Payton Jr, who can tell you how important are the support and canvassers from the progressive community, PFC included.

You'll also get an update from the campaign of Philly For Change's choice for governor (we endorsed him two months ago) JOLTIN' JOE HOEFFEL!

You'll also get a pitch for your next Democratic Committeeperson, YOU, as we tell you how to change the party by being the party in your neighborhood!

Take a deep breath, here's who's confirmed for tonight:

***From the hotly contested 6th district Congressional race***

Famed local writer

Physician & Iraq War vet

Coming Together for Tony Payton

Most of us know the story of Tony Payton, right? Young, progressive guy who took on the machine, and won, in 2006? In Tony’s first term in office, he brought home money into his district, and right away started working on big picture, transformational bills such as the REACH scholarship program that would effectively send scores and scores of Pennsylvania children to college for free.

But, after defeating the party in 2006, Tony is again under fire for not kissing the ring of ward leaders Marge Tartaglione and Danny Savage. So, they have decided to go after Tony with repulsive tactic, after repulsive tactic. It doesn’t matter whether Tony is good, or terrible- he has not kissed their ass, and he won't kiss their ass, and so their petulant response is to aim their fire at him, with an unknown, but party backed candidate Guy Lewis.

On the national level, bloggers have used the slogan more and better Democrats. In other words, we want to take seats from the GOP where we can, but we also want to improve on the Democratic seats we have. However, in this case, we clearly have to play defense. We have a young guy who is already thinking about big picture, transformative legislation. We need to keep him in Harrisburg.

Here is the bottom line: Tony can still win this thing. He has the backing of Rendell, Nutter, et al. But, he needs our help to do it. As Philly for Change chair David Sternberg said to me on email, it is scary that this race is both winnable, and up to us.

I am spending my free time on election day working for Tony at the polls, joining at least a couple other YPP readers. Will you? If you can help Tony out, call Dave at 215-906-7288 or email him at

What big Ed said

Who doesn't love Ed Rendell? I used to cook him bacon cheeseburgers at the Lombard Swim Club where I worked in high school, and as I told Jennifer at the fundraiser last night, I don't know a native Philadelphian who doesn't have some weird, personal memory of him from the Mayoral years (again, mostly involving food).

Which is why his words, in Philadelphia, count.

So listen up ward leaders in the 179th state leg district--Rendell thinks you made a mistake. In fact his exact words from last night's fundraiser for Tony Payton Jr. were:

If we let them beat back Tony, it's a huge blow to independent politics in the Democratic party and the city of Philadelphia...and to young people.

He said a lot more, but I only got so much. Click here to see a terrible cell phone vid I took (the sound is the part that counts).

For those of you who don't know, Rep. Tony Payton Jr. is the youngest member of the PA House. He was first elected in 2006, and has since proved a valuable member of the unnamed, but growing, progressive caucus of the Democratic party in Harrisburg.

Tony ran without the blessing of the party in 2006, and beat a well-organized write-in candidate. Now, purely out of spite, City Commissioner Marge Tartaglione and former City Council-person Dannny Savage have prevented Tony from getting the Democratic party endorsement again.

Again according to Rendell:

Tony is a tremendous breath of fresh air in Harrisburg...if he'd gotten the endorsement, it would have been an easy reelection, but now it will be a tough battle and he needs every dime...which is why I gave him $5,000.

Hear that ward leaders? Hear that Congressman Brady?

Ed Rendell thinks you made a mistake, and not matter what your differences with the Guv may be, he is a Democratic governor in his last two years of power. This is the time big stuff is gonna be able to happen, and if the Guv wants Tony, you'd better deliver him.

I don't know Democratic City Committee rules real well, but maybe you could undo last Saturday's endorsement?

Stand up for Progressives and for Philly's Children: Support Tony Payton

As Ray let us know below, the Philly Democratic Party is once again aiming its cross hairs at Rep. Tony Payton. For those who do not remember, last time, despite the fact that he was the only Democrat on the ballot, the party still tried to go after Tony. Tony won.

The important part of the whole thing was not that Tony won, however, but what he did once he got into Harrisburg. He didn't waste time settling scores, or with petty crap. Instead, in his first term in office, Tony introduced Reliable Educational Assistance for College Hopefuls (REACH:)

Payton’s legislation would create Reliable Educational Assistance for College Hopefuls, referred to as REACH, a statewide, merit-based scholarship program for all students in Pennsylvania who maintain at least a 3.0 grade-point average and a 90 percent attendance record. The program would ensure those students would receive a scholarship covering all tuition and fees to any university in the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education.

Payton said the REACH scholarship would not be a “giveaway” program, but rather an investment in the state’s future. Pennsylvania currently has one of the most expensive state university systems in the United States. He said that has resulted in the troublesome phenomenon commonly referred to as “brain drain,” where students seek higher education and, eventually, employment outside of the Commonwealth.

The scholarship would be available to all qualified high school students, regardless of economic background, gender, race and/or religious affiliation. Every public, private and parochial school student who meets the base criteria would be eligible for a scholarship.

That is the type of program that will transform the lives of children in Philadelphia. That is the type of program that will let kids in our city know that, contrary to so many messages society sends to them, we want and need them to succeed, regardless of the color of their skin, or the neighborhood in which they grew up in.

The petty BS that is coming from Marge Tartaglione, and the City Party structure is just another piece of evidence that pettiness often trumps public policy, and it is more important to have your friend in office than to have real leadership.

So, over the next four months, we as a progressive community are going to have to make a decision. Can we come together and stand up for a young progressive we already have in office? Can we let the party know that the belches that sometimes pass for the process in which they pick a candidate, are simply not good enough? The only way it will happen is if we come together, and help with our time, energy and dollars, to help re-elect Tony.

Tonight, Tony is having a fundraiser, headlined by some guy named Ed Rendell. It is from 6:00-8:00pm, at Sole Food Restaurant at Loews Hotel, 1200 Market Street. If you can go, you should. But, if not, you can help out here. I just made a small donation, and plan to make additional ones over the next couple of months. I hope you will, too.

Cordially inviting you to a Reception Benefiting Rep. Tony Payton

The Host Committee of

Raheemah Abdulaleem Esq., Justin Ehrenwerth, Tatiana Granados,
Haille Johnston, Khari Mosley, Sulaiman Rahman, Fareeda Mabry,
Scott Reid, Esq., Angelina Riley, Jeff Scott, Esq., Sozi Tulante, Esq.,
Host Committee in Formation

And Special Guest
Gov. Edward G. Rendell

Cordially invite you to a reception benefiting

Friends of Rep. Tony Payton, Re-Election Committee
Monday, January 28, 2008
6:00pm to 8:00pm Cocktail Reception
The Loews Philadelphia Hotel, Sole Food Restaurant
1200 Market Street, Philadelphia, PA 19107

Host- $200 Supporter- $100 Student- $50

To RSVP or for more information please contact
Garcia Sozino at 215/796-5705 or

Please make checks payable to Friends of Rep. Tony Payton, Jr.
mail to:
P.O. Box 9579
Philadelphia, PA 19124
Contribute online

A house divided: how the party screwed Tony Payton Jr. (again)

This just in...a caucus of ward leaders was held today in the 179th legislative districts to decide who to endorse in the 179th state house legislative district. The way a party endorsement works in a state leg district is that the ward leaders vote, and the candidate who ends up with the most divisions wins.

Challenger Guy Lewis has received the party endorsement over incumbent State Representative Tony Payton Jr. There are 55 divisions in the 179th and Lewis won the endorsement, receiving 33 divisions.

How you ask?

  • Marge Tartaglione, 62nd ward leader, controls 14 divisons.
  • Danny Savage, 23rd ward leader, controls 16 divisions.
  • Bill Dolbow, 35th ward leader, controls 3 divisons.

Total = insanity.

No matter how Tony came to be in power, I thought that as an incumbent, he'd be guaranteed a spot. After all, do you remember what Congressman Brady did when some folks organized to run against incumbent committee people in the 30th ward?

He sent this letter to ward leader, Terry Gillen:

March 8, 2006

Dear Terry,
It has come to my attention that there is an organized effort to file petitions to become a Democratic committee person in many wards in the city. It is clear that this effort has been started by forces that seek to polarize and destroy this party. I strongly urge you to oppose their efforts. I suggest that you immediately notify me at City Committee of the divisions where this has occurred. I will have the petition reviewed to determine if it is defective. If it is, I will assist you in filing a petition with the Common Pleas Court to have the person stricken from the ballot on behalf of your designated candidate in that division.

We are a family united. As your leader and friend, I will fight to make sure we remain united.

I will also prepare withdrawal slips for these individuals that filed and I will try to have them withdrawn.

Very truly yours,
Democratic County Executive
Committee of Philadelphia

"We are a family united," eh?

Tony has brought over $5 million to his district, offers housing counseling and job services from his office, has made a commitment to improving schools and has been an amazing progressive ally and leader, most notably his bill to make college more affordable for Pennsylvania students.

Tony went to Harrisburg two years ago, without the endorsement of the party, and apparently now he'll have to do it again.

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