Across the nation Black men and women—Christians and Muslims alike—have run and gotten elected to political positions. In other cities Blacks have run and been victorious by getting elected as district attorneys, sheriff, commissioners, U.S. senators, congressmen, with the pinnacle of success being the election of President Obama.
However, in Allegheny County remnants of Willie Lynch’s philosophy still remains in effect.
Let’s analyze our deplorable situation: Allegheny County has never elected a Black state senator, in fact the late Leon W. Howard Jr. was the only Black person to run. Only two Blacks ever ran for a congressional seat and both are deceased—Attorney Byrd R. Brown and Algia Gary. There have been about seven Blacks with the courage and conviction to run for an Allegheny County Row Office and six Blacks with the same conviction that have run for mayor of Pittsburgh. The overwhelming majority of Black candidates, for whatever reason, generally run against other Blacks. I understand the reasoning, but we must begin to challenge the big picture.
If you are afraid you can’t win then you are an automatic loser when you fail to run.
In 2010, Allegheny County Chief Executive Dan Onorato is seeking the Democratic nomination for governor, and if successful his current position will be vacant and an appointment will be made to fill it. Speculation runs rampart across Allegheny County among Whites and Blacks and both groups mention the same names. The tragedy is that all the names are White men—no Blacks and no females.
It is insulting and also embarrassing to the voters of Allegheny County that there has been no mention of Bill Robinson, a proven veteran of politics, who is not only academically qualified but a astute public servant. Bill Robinson served with distinction eight years on Pittsburgh City Council, 14 years in the Pennsylvania House of Representative and is currently in his seventh year as an Allegheny County Councilman. He is the chairman of the all-important Budget Committee.
I would hope that those readers who agree with my assessment of Bill Robinson will call his office or when you see him on the street encourage him to place his name for consideration. I would like to note that his political record of 29 years has been scandal free.
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(Louis “Hop” Kendrick is a weekly contributor to the Forum Page.)