T. Milton Street compared himself to Moses as he laid out his credentials to be the next Mayor of Philadelphia.
“I was a leader who tried to make life better for small businesses, entrepreneurs, cabdrivers, the homeless,” said Street, referring to his terms in the Pa. State house and state senate in the 1980’s.
Street, the brother of former Mayor John Street, served a 26-month sentence in federal prison for a misdemeanor conviction for failing to file taxes. He was released last year.
In his op-ed letter, Street wrote, “I have come through a difficult time, and am a better, stronger and wiser man.” He goes on to say he learned that mistakes carry consequences and that "Moses -- the greatest leader the world has ever known -- followed a similar path."
Street said he wants to “be a voice for the forgotten” whom he calls the “Don’t Counts.”
His latest campaign survived a challenge by Mayor Michael Nutter to force him off the ballot. Street has said he would like to debate Nutter.
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In 2007, Street entered and later withdrew from the mayoral race. He followed that up with an unsuccessful run for an at-large seat on Philadelphia City Council the same year.
Republicans Karen Brown and John Featherman are running for their party's nomination to challenge Mayor Nutter in the November election.
The Pa. primary is set for May 17.
Here is the full text of T. Milton Street’s letter::
Having read the comments regarding my efforts to be the Democratic nominee for mayor of Philadelphia, I'm left with a sense of awe at the intense feelings of those who support me -- as well as those who don't. But one element seems to be missing in this discussion:
Do I have the experience to be mayor? Answering that should be part of the campaign, along with my ability to lead. As a community activist, I was a leader who tried to make life better for small businesses, entrepreneurs, cabdrivers, the homeless.
Maybe some Philadelphians are too young to remember the change led by folks like Dave Richardson, Charlie Bowser, Hardy Williams, C. DeLores Tucker and me from the '70s to the early '80s. As a state representative and state senator, I used my position to fight for those in need. Since then, I've experienced the up and downs of life. I've endured loss of position and financial hardships. I've experienced tragic family losses and fought through illness. But through it all, God has allowed me to survive. I have come through a difficult time, and am a better, stronger and wiser man.
We live in a country that believes in a second chance. Just ask disgraced ex-N.Y. Gov. Eliott Spitzer, recovered addict Rush Limbaugh or the amazing Michael Vick. People may talk about the fact that I served time for failing to file taxes, but I've paid the price and seized the opportunity it afforded me to recommit himself for the mission I believe I was born for - to be a voice for the forgotten or those I call the "Don't Counts."
Some may forget that after an exhaustive investigation and trial, I was found to be innocent of corruption and cleared of false accusations.
This helped me understand that even the smallest mistakes carry consequences. Moses -- the greatest leader the world has ever known -- followed a similar path. Born poor, he rose to prominence in the house of Pharaoh. He was exiled and suffered loss of position, status and dignity. But God had a plan for him that eventually returned him to the mission for which he had been chosen, albeit in a different way. I believe God has a plan for each of us.
Sen. Street -- not Milton -- has returned. I'm focused, determined, committed. I've returned to be a voice to speak up for neighborhoods who've had library and recreation center closures threatened by the current administration. To speak up for homeowners who can't afford to have their taxes raised. To fight against stop-and-frisk and its efforts to take away our human rights.
Vote for me or not, but the issues must be discussed. Now that God has allowed me to be on the ballot, it will happen and the voices of the "Don't Counts" will be heard.
T. Milton Street