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Gainey Notches First Endorsement, From Activist Group One PA

PA House of Representatives

Days after entering Pittsburgh’s mayoral race, state Representative Ed Gainey is rolling out his first endorsement. Activist group One PA says it will back him over two-term incumbent Bill Peduto.

“One PA is proud to endorse Rep. Gainey, a proven public servant who leads with humility and strength,” said Angel Gober, the organization’s Western PA Director, in a statement. “We need a Mayor whose head and heart are with the hardworking people of Pittsburgh, and not with Executives looking down on us from the tops of the towers downtown.”

The group will hold a virtual press conference with Gainey later today.

Known as One Pittsburgh prior to a statewide expansion, the group has been involved in a number of progressive causes, including efforts to fend off privatization of the city’s water system and a bid to establish a “community schools” model in Pittsburgh that would prevent school closures.

Such advocacy efforts have at times put the group at cross purposes with Peduto, who is seeking a third term as mayor. In 2018, the group unsuccessfully opposed city approval of an expansion to UPMC Mercy Hospital without a robust community benefits agreement. Peduto argued the city could not use its zoning powers to dictate such terms.

One PA endorsed Gainey’s bid to return to Harrisburg last year, as part of a slate of legislators it supported. Their group's endorsement of him now appears to be its first endorsement in Pittsburgh's municipal races, though it did support candidates for city school board and county council in 2019.

In its statement Thursday, the group said it would mobilize its resources to back Gainey this year too.

“We have the historic opportunity to elect a powerful voice for the people and the first Black Mayor of the City Of Pittsburgh,” said Board Chair, LaSaine Latimore. “Ed has been a true ally and friend to One PA members for years, always showing up for us. We’re going to make sure that we show up for him.”

Nearly three decades after leaving home for college, Chris Potter now lives four miles from the house he grew up in -- a testament either to the charm of the South Hills or to a simple lack of ambition. In the intervening years, Potter held a variety of jobs, including asbestos abatement engineer and ice-cream truck driver. He has also worked for a number of local media outlets, only some of which then went out of business. After serving as the editor of Pittsburgh City Paper for a decade, he covered politics and government at the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. He has won some awards during the course of his quarter-century journalistic career, but then even a blind squirrel sometimes digs up an acorn.