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Politics & Government

After Election, City Council Remains Essentially the Same

In the fourth district, which represents Pittsburgh’s southern neighborhoods such as Beechview and Brookline, incumbent City Councilwoman Natalia Rudiak won against Johnny Lee.

Rudiak said she has spent the last four years building the foundation for the next four years.

“I look forward to working on a united front on the relationships I’ve been building with the state representatives and state senators and (the) county executive to really actualize on some of these projects,” she said. 

Some of her plans involve revitalizing business districts.  

In the sixth district, which consists of portions of the Hill District, Downtown and the North Side, incumbent Daniel Lavelle easily defeated former Councilwoman Tonya Payne, who he defeated four years ago. Lavelle captured 53 percent of the vote while Payne grabbed 29 percent and another challenger Franco Dok Harris managed 17 percent.

Lavelle won by a wide margin and said that his plan for the next four years is to help build a sustainable black middle class.

He said he was not surprised by the margin of his victory because his constituents have “bought in and understood that together (we can) keep building on the momentum, and we’ll accomplish some good things.”

Lavelle said that one of his key goals is creation of a sustainable black middle class and the eradication of poverty in Pittsburgh.

Since there was no Republican in the primary, Lavelle almost certainly will win another term in November and quite likely have to work with Councilman Bill Peduto, but in another capacity. After winning the Democratic mayoral primary, Peduto is a heavy favorite against Republican Josh Wander in November.

Lavelle said he can work with Peduto if they put personal issues aside. 

“Those that we represent have to come first and foremost in our conversation and our minds, (then) probably we can easily work together,” he said.

In the eighth district, which encompasses East End neighborhoods such as Squirrel Hill and Point Breeze, there is no incumbent as two-term council member Bill Peduto forfeited his seat to run for mayor. But Dan Gilman, Peduto’s chief of staff over the last eight years, beat Sam Hans-Greco and Jeane Clark with more than 60 percent of the vote.

While that district has seen over two billion dollars in economic growth and a 10 percent population growth over the last few years, Gilman said they still face the same issues other districts face.

“Potholes, paving, snow removal … they’ve been great challenges in our districts as they have been in all districts … so that’s the number one priority,” Gilman said.

Gilman said he hopes to bring more transparency to Pittsburgh government.

In the second district, Theresa Smith, who was running unopposed, won.