Dwight Evans (Incumbent)
Office Sought: U.S. House (Pennsylvania's 3rd Congressional District)
Political Party: Democratic
Career: Former state lawmaker representing portions of Philadelphia
Campaign Website: dwightevans.com
No. of Tweets: 2,752
No. of Facebook Followers: 6,120
Biography: As a State Representative and civic leader, Dwight Evans has dedicated his career to bolstering the communities and improving the lives of Philadelphia families. He touts his successes as a State Representative, Chairman of the House Appropriations Committee, and leader in education, saying he'll be an activist Congressman who will strengthen all neighborhoods across the city, "block by block".
On the Issues: Dwight Evans has dedicated his life to the cause of urban renewal, "working to give a voice those who too often live in the shadows, the poor and underserved." His stance on the issues comes from the future he envisions for Philadelphia as an increasingly interconnected and supportive community.
Through the Ogontz Avenue Redevelopment Corporation, Dwight Evans has championed the development of dozens of housing units and has spurred the development of "many private businesses in West Oak Lane that have created hundreds of jobs in the community and the overall improvement in the quality of life in one of Philadelphia’s finest neighborhoods."
He intends to rebuild main streets and back streets, support small businesses from within the community, incentivize non-chain retail, introduce new models for reviving unused urban space (like "popup community gardens") to reinvigorate declining shopping districts and main streets, require businesses to create jobs in order to receive tax breaks, leverage local buying power, establish a living wage for workers to cover basic needs, and extend paid sick leave to all American workers.
"Businesses, families, non-profits, and people all need money to succeed. Every neighborhood commercial center needs to include easy public access to real banking facilities – not exploitive financial substitutes. Community businesses and entrepreneurs need access to capital in an even broader sense. In 2004, Dwight helped to create the Helping Working Families Task Force; the Task Force’s final report, Dollars and Sense: Realistic ways policymakers can help Pennsylvania’s working families, was issued in January 2005. He will continue in Congress to work to: ensure there is a bank at every neighborhood crossroad; provide access to capital and credit for small businesses (through loan guarantees for struggling small businesses, a nationwide Capital Access Program, and equity financing programs, among others); encourage neighborhood start-ups and entrepreneurs; help low-and moderate-income families become self-sufficient and start their own businesses; crack down on exploitative lending practices; and work with the banking community to create low-cost banking services in underserved neighborhoods."
"The Pennsylvania Fresh Food Financing Initiative that Dwight Evans has spearheaded has become a model for the nation. FFFI attracted 206 applications from across Pennsylvania, with 88 grocery stores financed as of June 2010. In total, more than $73.2 million in loans and $12.1 million in grants were approved, and created more than 5,000 jobs.
Dwight Evans wants to expand those efforts in Congress. He will promote local food sources by creating farm-to-school programs, helping schools, hospitals, jails, and other institutions procure local food, encouraging urban agriculture, establishing farmers markets in "food deserts", and identifying vacant lots or those with derelict properties that can be converted to neighborhood gardens."
"Dwight Evans’ mother taught him as a little boy to appreciate the value of a good education. As a result, the first job Dwight took after college was as a teacher in the Philadelphia public schools — and he’s been working to bring better education to our children ever since.
These are the kinds of educational initiatives the federal government can and must support and encourage: invest in every neighborhood school, making it a “community school” (a place where families can find activities, social support, translation services, job connections, and other resources); expand health care centers in schools; expand technology in schools (ensuring internet access and increased digital content for students); create Community Technology Centers (CTC); modernize historic school buildings to create jobs; fund Early Childhood Education; fund afterschool enrichment efforts, including sports and arts programs; and promote Kindergarten to College, where children entering kindergarten are automatically given a College Savings Account to invest towards their future."
"If we’re going to attract more businesses and create more jobs, we need to build more housing: workforce housing, affordable housing and innovative ideas like micro-units. We must commit to an aggressive plan for building tens of thousands of new units of housing that will help relieve the high cost of housing that is straining many families. It is imperative we do so to keep out economy churning. We need housing policies that empower residents to plan their communities, create more affordable housing units, support broader economic development goals, preserve neighborhood stability, and help those facing housing crises."
Cityscape and Street Infrastructure
"Dwight Evans has long been a supporter of urban transit, passing policies that funded, stabilized, and re-energized mass transit systems. He will continue to work in Congress to shift federal funding from highway expansion into exurbs (which has drained cities and destroyed countless vibrant neighborhoods), and instead promote mass transit that will connect more people with jobs, increase environmental sustainability, further cut dependence on foreign oil, reduce commute times and improve quality of life for more Americans. In addition, the federal government must help cities to make surface streets safer, promote transit-oriented development, and make streets more bicycle friendly."
Keeping Communities Safe
"Dwight Evans has long recognized that pro-active, community-centered policing is an integral part of vibrant communities. It is time that Congress support the kind of policing programs that both reduce crime and promote cities’ quality of life and economic growth: creating incentives for officers to live in higher crime areas, building relationships and partnerships with citizens; creating more police satellite offices; providing real time data to police; launching a Safe Place initiative; establishing city gun courts; getting more serious offenders off the street through tough sentencing; and implementing innovative gun programs in collaboration with community groups."
Promoting Green Space and Clean Environments
"It’s density and concentration that makes cities – and economies – successful. But it can also be overwhelming sometimes. Cities provide most of what people need – but sometimes people need what urbanization has sometimes replaced: open space, greenery, and the natural environment. Our cities need to be places full of these opportunities, as well. Here’s what Dwight Evans thinks we can do: expand city park accessibility, create a parklet program, plant more trees, support the creation of rooftop parks and green space, and extend free WiFi to city parks, repurposing payphone booths as WiFi kiosks."