Basketball player Isaiah Thomas announced his candidacy for Philadelphia City Council at large.
When I talked to Mr. Isaiah Thomas—a basketball player who on paper is often confused with the point guard from the Phoenix Suns—last week he was on the go as usual, but he was managing to fit in serious time for reflection. Upon the many things on his brain, Mr. Thomas, a writer, coach, activist and mentor, was trying to wrap his head around the significance of having the endorsement of NUHHCE District 1199C President Mr. Henry Nicholas, a legend in the U.S. labor movement.
Though he’s only campaigning for City Council At-large as a democrat in Philadelphia, Mr. Thomas has a unique story that the nation has been paying attention to for some time now.
You may remember his name from the Philadelphia City Council race of 2011, when he, at the age of 26, finished as the third runner up. While he didn’t win a seat on the fourth floor of City Hall, Mr. Thomas gained a spot in record books as one the youngest Democratic Philadelphia City Council candidates in modern history.
But now its about a victory, and Mr. Anton Moore, who made headlines recently for lobbying City Council to increase penalties for store owners who are caught selling illegal BB guns to minors, thinks that putting “a guy like Isaiah” in City Hall would “give hope to millennials.”
“He’s got a good shot of winning,” said Moore, who confidently expressed to me that “Isaiah is the man for the job! People want change,” he continued, “the establishment is filled with the same ole, same ole. We need a young fresh mind in City Council.”
What really sold Mr. Moore, the founder of Unity in the Community, on the idea of Isaiah Thomas as a City Councilman was seeing him come to his South Philadelphia community and invest time and effort into learning about the people and the problems.
“That spoke volumes… words is one thing, action is another.”
Though Mr. Moore has high praise for his “BMe brother,” he pointed out an area where he’d like to see improvement.
“I want to see him take a more aggressive stance … even if it ruffles some feathers. I need to see him stand up and stand tall and talk about the issues of education, poverty and the police.”
The criticism of showing more teeth, if you will, has been repeated by a few others I’ve encountered who though they think Mr. Thomas has a good shot at winning, would like hear a little more pushback from him about the system as it stands today.
Well, that may come sooner than later, as Mr. Thomas told Techbook Online exclusively that if he’s elected, than “day one I’m advocating against stop-and-frisk.”
Mr. Thomas called the law an “injustice” and alluded to its racial inequalities. While on the topic of the police, Mr. Thomas discloses that part of his public safety plan is to learn from the neighborhoods whose residents have great relationships with their police officers and “implement those models across the City of Philadelphia.”
During our talk in front of Frankford High School, where he graduated in 2002, Mr. Thomas and I didn’t dive to deep into his education platform, but in our numerous conversations prior I’ve come to learn that public education is something that he holds dear to his heart, as his family is filled with educators who have taught throughout the city.
It’s that passion for public education—among many other things—that Mr. Thomas is banking on to get him to City Hall.
He says he has innovative ideas, a new approach to politics and a vision for the City of Philadelphia, now lets see if Mr. Thomas has what it takes to garner the support needed to carry him to victory.
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