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Politics & Government

Primary Primer: Learn More About Pittsburgh's Mayoral Candidates

William Peduto

Elected Positions Held: District 8 Pittsburgh City Councilman, 2002-Present

Other Occupations of Note: Chief of staff to former City Councilman Dan Cohen.

Education: BA Penn State University, MA University of Pittsburgh

Top Issues:
Economic Development: Peduto plans to take the model of community-based development to all city neighborhoods by landing state and federal grant support, modernizing zoning laws and improving transit.

Education and Technology: Understanding the Pittsburgh Public School district is separate from city government both financially and politically, Peduto said he would focus his education efforts with an
overarching goal of supporting programs that have already been launched or envisioned by local education advocates in what he calls “wrap around services” that will use little or no city money.

Government Reform: Peduto would focus on making the government focused first on its citizens through efforts such as “outcome-based” budgeting and equity and diversity initiatives. He would also work to restore trust in the city’s police department through partnering with the community to find ways to overcome recent financial and police brutality scandals.

Closing Statement at 90.5 WESA Forum: Peduto said Pittsburgh is a city on the verge of great potential, of being the “next great city,” but it is not quite there. He said city government won’t be what gets the city there, but rather the citizens with help from the government. He said the city does not need a top-down leadership model, but “needs a mayor and leadership of government that enables people to do great things."

A.J. Richardson
Credit voteajrichardson.com

Elected Positions Held: None

Other Occupations of Note: Pastor Mount Sinai 7th Day Holiness Temple of Christ, former Mechanics shop owner in Youngstown, Ohio and Youth Minister at Victory Missionary Baptist Church in Brooklyn, New York.

Top issues:
Government Reform: Richardson says he “is not skilled in the corruptive ways of politics” but is skilled in the ways of change, compassion and ethics.

Quality of Life: Richardson touts himself as a strong family man who is respected in his home, church, by his employers and in his community and will “promote a better quality of life for all to give politics a
new look.”

Closing Statement at 90.5 WESA Forum: Richardson did not attend.

Jack Wagner

Elected Positions Held: Pennsylvania Auditor General 2005-2012. Forced to leave due to term limits. PA State Senate 1994 -2004. Pittsburgh City Council 1984-1994.

Other Occupations of Note: As a United States Marine Corp. member, Wagner served in combat in Vietnam, earning a Purple Heart.

Education: BA Indiana University of Pennsylvania

Top Issues:
Economic Development: Wagner plans to partner with local businesses to find growth opportunities in the city’s neighborhoods while protecting workers' rights and safety.

Government Reform: Wagner believes the city’s government is in crisis, and he will use the skills he honed as Auditor General to bring efficiency, integrity and accountability to city government through better management systems and better training.

Education: Wagner says he is the only candidate that has the skills, relationships and experience to unite the community around better education, find additional state and federal funding and offer suggestions on how to better operate the Pittsburgh Public Schools system.

Closing Statement at 90.5 WESA Forum: Wagner said he wants to move the city in the right direction because he said city government is currently broken and needs to be fixed. He said city government has not provided solutions to move the city forward. He outlined his connections outside of the city and said he will work with state and federal lawmakers.

Jake Wheatley
Jake Wheatley.jpg
Credit PA House of Representatives

Elected Positions Held: PA 19th District State Representative (Pittsburgh), 2003-Present

Other Occupations of Note: As a United States Marine Corp. member, Wheatley served in combat operations in Operation Desert Storm.

Education: BA North Carolina A&T, MPA University of Pittsburgh

Top issues:
Gun Control: Wheatley supports a citizen’s right to own a gun but calls for tight background checks and strict enforcement of current laws, especially those related to illegal and lost and stolen guns.

Government Reform: Wheatley intends to push for more transparency of government operations including the finances of the mayor’s office and the schedules of those in the office.

Economic Development: Wheatley offers a guiding principal that prosperity will only truly come to the city of Pittsburgh if it comes to all citizens including minorities. He believes supporting strong
education systems is key in promoting economic growth.

Closing Statement at 90.5 WESA Forum: Wheatley said the election is about the citizens, not the candidates. He said he wants to change what the city has become and move away from a system in which you have to know someone, have high-profile endorsements and money to advance. Wheatley said he wants to change the “politics as usual” climate and said it will not be “the day of your grandfather’s, it’ll be the day of you and your children.”