The idea of “working with others” seems to be a reoccurring theme in this mayoral race. Let’s stop and think about what that means. Does “working with others” mean propping up the status quo? Or does it mean building broad and diverse coalitions to change Pittsburgh for the better? The former has kept the same few in power and the latter has opened the city to new voices, new approaches to development, new protections for workers and our environment, and new faces in city, county, and state government.

My philosophy of coalition-building is and has always been that if you see something that needs changed you gather a group of like-minded people together to get it done. Not everyone is always going to agree and not everyone is always going to want to be a part of the group pushing for change, but if groups of committed people can’t work toward common goals then we might as well all go home. This is a democracy and democracy is messy and sometimes raucous. There is push and pull back and forth until consensus is built and changes are made.

1. A History of Coalition Building and a Future of Change

I’m proud of the coalitions I have been a part of at the city level. Coalitions of elected officials, faith leaders, labor unions, working people, and advocacy groups that were able to end no-bid contracts, require lobbyists to disclose their affiliations, limit campaign contributions, clean up our air and water, pass a domestic violence policy that became a model for the nation, provide equal benefits to gay and lesbian employees, push for equal representation on city boards, authorities, and commissions, ensure that publicly subsidized developers are paying their employees a living wage, push for green solutions to our stormwater challenges, keep public assets out of the hands of Wall Street bankers, and save our city from bankruptcy.

I’m proud of the coalitions I have been a part of at the county level. Coalitions that were able to avert a public transportation catastrophe, expand our public transportation networks, share financial services to save taxpayers money, help seniors and low- and moderate-income homeowners fight their assessments and stay in their homes, and expand our regional parks and trails.

I’m proud of the coalitions I have been a part of at the state level. Coalitions that worked to fight for more stimulus money from the federal government, push for changes in how transportation and infrastructure dollars are allocated, keep payday lenders from taking over our neighborhoods, fight against restrictions on women’s reproductive freedom, and institute standards for renewable energy.

I’m proud of the coalitions I have been a part of at the federal level. Coalitions that have joined together to fight for an increase in the living wage, ensure healthcare accessibility for all Americans, secure the release of political prisoners from tyrannical regimes, protect voting rights for all Americans, and preserve safety nets like Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid for future generations.

I’m looking forward to working with these coalitions as Mayor to rebuild our neighborhood business districts, modernize city government’s operations and services, sweep out corruption and fraud, provide early childhood education to all children in Pittsburgh, create jobs and training programs for low- and moderate-income people who have been left behind, get illegal guns off our streets and prosecute those who peddle them, bring new businesses and new residents into our city, and restore honor and integrity to the Mayor’s Office.