Deborah Gross, who helped City Councilor Patrick Dowd first win elected office back in 2003, is now seeking to fill the seat he is leaving vacant.
While a formal declaration isn't due out until later this week, Gross confirmed her plans to run in a phone conversation with City Paper. (Besides, the Highland Park resident has already got a campaign Facebook page!)
"My husband was egging me on to run," Gross says. "At first I told him, 'You're crazy.'" But as she began thinking of all the people in the district who she might call upon for help, she says, "I just thought, 'I've worked with all these people, I love the projects that they are doing.'"
Gross has long been active in progressive and community-development circles, having at one time headed the Pittsburgh Arts Alliance before leaving to start Percolater, a business seeking to help non-profits establish strong ties to the business community. She has also been an active supporter of local progressive candidates: In addition to helping Dowd win a school board seat -- "the very first race I ever worked on" -- she also worked on a campaign for City Councilor Bruce Kraus, and has been a long-time supporter of Bill Peduto, who is the Democratic nominee for mayor.
"I know half of city council, and I fundraised for Bill back in the day," she says. And as her husband pointed out, "When else would this happpen, that you have such a positive relationship with so many officials?"
Running for office is "a tough decision to make," Gross says, "but I feel like I know these neighborhoods so well."
Gross appears set to be the first candidate to officially declare her intention to run, but she almost certainly won't be the last. As we've previously reported, among other canidates said to be pondering bids are previous Dowd challenger Tony Ceoffe and Lawrenceville United head Lauren Byrne.