Deb Gross has just made official what we first reported here yesterday: She is running for City Council District 7, in a special election to replace Patrick Dowd. A second district resident has also thrown his hat in the ring: local historian Jim Wudarczyk. More on him in a moment. First, here's the Gross campaign's release, e-mailed moments ago:
Highland Park resident Deb Gross today announced her candidacy for Pittsburgh City Council District 7, which has been vacated by Councilman Patrick Dowd. A special election will be held on November 5, 2013.
Deb has worked as a community organizer, strategic planner and fundraiser for many community development initiatives with organizations in the district including the Lawrenceville Corporation, Mildred's Daughters Farm, and the Bloomfield-Garfield Corporation. She has also worked for The Greater Pittsburgh Arts Alliance, and the Women and Girls Foundation of SW PA.
"I have had the privilege of working with our City's most visionary leaders throughout our neighborhoods. I am energized and excited for the opportunity to serve my neighbors on City Council. I will work tirelessly to promote economic growth, deliver quality government services and ensure our families have the best possible quality of life."
Deb is a Democratic Committeewoman and a lifelong progressive Democrat. She has been employed on the campaigns of Bill Peduto, Patrick Dowd, Bruce Kraus, Lisa Bennington, Gene Riccardi, and the Run Baby Run Initiative which supports women running for office.
As a member of council, Deb will continue the strong partnerships between the council office and the community to capitalize on the current momentum and exciting initiatives revitalizing the communities of District 7 and ensure that all neighborhoods and citizens in the district share in this prosperity. She believes that the shared and sustainable development of these neighborhoods can be enhanced by continuing to encourage and support the collaborative efforts of community organizations within the district and neighboring communities.
"We have wonderful neighborhoods in our district. Our strength is our neighborhoods and the engaged leaders throughout our community who have worked hard to make this a great place to live," Deb Gross said. "I look forward to continuing to be a part of this growth, to work closely with the incoming mayoral administration, and to make sure that each and every one of our neighbors has a strong advocate on council."
Deb Gross received her Bachelor's Degree in Sociology from the University of Florida and Master's Degree in Sociology from the Duke University. Prior to moving to Highland Park she lived in Bloomfield for 12 years. She is married to Stan Caldwell who works at Carnegie Mellon University and has a six-year-old daughter, Theodora, and a 15-month-old son, Stanley.
District 7 includes the Pittsburgh neighborhoods of Bloomfield, Friendship, Highland Park, Lawrenceville, Morningside, Polish Hill, Stanton Heights and the Strip District.
As for Wudarczyk, the Lawrenceville resident and "fourth-generation Pittsburgher" e-mailed us a short time ago, letting us know that "[a]fter being approached by a number of concerned citizens who resent the fact that a select group of elitists will pick the party candidate, I agreed to run as an Independent."
Because there is no primary in advance of a special election, the Democratic Party committee chooses who the Democrat on the ballot will be. Wudarczyk (it's pronounced "wood-AR-chick," by the way) says it ain't gonna be him. "I don't rub elbows with those people and I won't get the endorsement," he says.
"I want to be the first to tell people that they have a voice in who their candidate is, and that the same old, same old is not working," he adds. "That's why the streets are pothole ridden, and the parks are neglected." He pledges to be a fiscal watchdog on council.
Wudarczyk doesn't have a formal campaign as of yet, but invites those interested in supporting him to contact him at 412-681-4637. "I like talking to people," he says.
Wudarczyk, who touts a lifetime of work in the private sector and financial management, is also a local historian who boasts of having authored or coauthored five books on Pittsburgh and Civil War history. In fact, he has a new one coming out this weekend, Until the Morning Cometh, with proceeds to benefit the Lawrenceville Historical Society.
So ... is Wudarcyzk just pulling a Sarah Palin, and launching a political campaign to sell books?
"I'm holding out for the movie rights," he says.