BRADDOCK, PA. – Braddock Mayor John Fetterman released the following statement regarding a McKeesport City Councilman-elect’s inability to be sworn in because of a decades-old drug conviction:
“The voters of McKeesport have democratically chosen Corey Sanders to serve as their representative, and we should not let a drug conviction from a quarter-century ago block the will of the people. I call on Governor Wolf to issue a pardon for Mr. Sanders to give the people of McKeesport the democratic representative they voted for.
“Sadly, this incident represents so much about what is wrong with our broken system. A drug conviction should not banish one for life from fully participating in our democracy. But in this country, non-violent offenders are denied opportunities for the rest of their lives – whether it’s being shut out of jobs or deprived of their fundamental rights. We can’t be surprised that so many end up back on drugs and back in prison.
“The war on drugs is more than just a failure. It’s a national disgrace. And we won’t be able to fix it until we stop looking at addiction as a crime and start treating it like a disease.”
Sanders and Timothy L. Brown, both 44, won nomination Nov. 3,2015 to city council and Timothy’s brother James Brown, 45, won a Democratic nod for a comeback to the area school board without the endorsement of the McKeesport Democratic Committee.
“We are part of the community,” said Sanders, who owns a barbershop.
“Our eyes and ears are open to help anyone,” said Timothy Brown, program coordinator at LaRosa Boys & Girls Club and transition specialist for McKeesport Area School District, near Pittsburgh.
“The first thing we plan to do is to open our mouths and be a voice to those who want to be heard and need to be heard,” Sanders said.
The Associated Press contributed to this article.