Five candidates seek to fill the soon-to-be-vacated Pennsylvania House 198th District seat — if elected, they will represent Germantown, East Falls, Nicetown and upper North Philadelphia.
Rosita C. Youngblood presided over the seat for 26 years, serving 15 terms. The following democratic candidates are lining up to replace Youngblood: Bernard A. Williams, Darisha K. Parker, Fareed Abdullah, Nikki Bagby, and Supreme Divine Dow.
Regardless of who takes the position, community members like Floyd J. Anderson is looking for his neighborhood to be restored to an area that reaps more benefits and resources. Anderson has lived in Germantown for 36 years and recalls the neighborhood participating in more activities in the past.
“When I first moved to Germantown, a lot of things going on were positive,” Anderson said. “But a lot of things started in the 90s with violence; it seemed like no one cared anymore.”
The democratic state rep will be selected in the June 2nd primary, and the position entails many responsibilities. Committee of Seventy Policy Director, Patrick Christmas, said those who hold district seats can be very influential in the communities they serve.
“These elected officials are supposed to be the ones who are closest to the constituents, closest to the people,” Christmas said. “These seats are significant, even though there are great many of them, the legislature has a tremendous amount of power.”
The PA state representatives operate in the lower chamber of the Pennsylvania general assembly, alongside the Pennsylvania State Senate. Each representative has the legislative authority and responsibility to pass bills on public policy, and set goals for state spending, and raising and lowering taxes.They form the legislative branch of the Pennsylvania state government and work alongside the governor of Pennsylvania to create laws and establish a state budget, alongside the PA State senate.
“They write the laws that the state lives under, so this is a very significant ruling body in our state,” said Kerry Sautner, Vice President of Voter Services with the League of Women Voters. “It is essential to a representative republic for the people to choose individuals they believe will best represent their communities’ interests when developing these laws.”
As this position is directly representative of the community it serves, Anderson hopes the selected candidate will not cease engagement after being elected.
“If you’re in a place of power, no one’s gonna trust you if they don’t know who you are,” Anderson said. “Because anybody can put a flyer out there and say what they’re gonna do.”
Today the Germantown Info Hub and G’town Radio will host their second call-in radio show with candidates for the 198th legislative district seat. Bernard A. Williams and Fareed Abduhlah will discuss their platforms at 5 p.m. on 92.9 FM, or you can listen online at www.bit.ly/ListenGtown. Residents can call in their questions for candidates at 215–609–4301 or email your questions in advance: Gtown.firstname.lastname@example.org.
ICYMI: Last week, the Info Hub spoke with Darisha K. Parker and Supreme Divine Dow about their platforms.