State Rep. Adam Ravenstahl, the brother to Pittsburgh's former mayor who announced his own re-election bid last week, has drawn a challenger from beyond the city limits: Avalon public school teacher Tom Michalow.
This is not Michalow's first bid for public office. He ran unsuccessfully for county council in 2009 against Matt Drozd, and previously served on the Avalon Borough Council. In a statement, the full text of which is below, he touts his career teaching German and History in the Northgate School District, which serves Ohio Valley suburbs. He promises to be "a visible leader who will fight for full and adequate funding for quality public education" among other government services.
The 20th district includes Pittsburgh's North Side neighborhoods -- traditionally the Ravenstahl family's political base -- as well as a chunk of Ross Township, and the Ohio Valley communities of Avalon, Bellevue and West View.
Michalow has previously impressed progressive groups, and his current bid seems to have won over at least one blogger. Based on that record and some inside-baseball chatter, Michalow seems likely to draw support from political allies of Mayor Bill Peduto. If his bid is successful, it could mean the disappearance of the Ravenstahl name from the local landscape: Peduto, of course, recently moved to strike Mayor Ravenstahl's name, along with that of other previous mayors, from city garbage cans and other property.
We'll have more on this race in the future. For now, here's Michalow's statement:
PITTSBURGH, PA - Tom Michalow is announcing his candidacy to represent Pennsylvania's 20th's district in the General Assembly. He will be challenging Adam Ravenstahl in the May 20th Democratic Primary Election.
"I will be a visible leader who will fight for full and adequate funding for quality public education, sustainable funding for transportation, smart economic development for all of our neighborhoods, and quality services for our seniors," Michalow said. "I will ensure that the voices of working families in Pittsburgh and Allegheny County are heard in Harrisburg."
Tom Michalow is a public school teacher with more than fifteen years of service in the community teaching German and History in the Northgate School District. Not only has Tom felt the frustration of budget cuts in the classroom he teaches, his own children have been affected by rising class sizes.
Michalow continued, "As a teacher and a father, I know there are better solutions for education in Pennsylvania than more standardized testing."
He has a record of delivering effective services through fiscal responsibility. As an elected official on the Avalon council, Tom fought to control spending, improve delivery of services, and provide needed support to seniors in the community.
Tom received his Undergraduate degree from Virginia Military Institute and earned his Master's degree in education from Duquesne University. Tom lives in Avalon with his wife Wendy and their two children.
Tom Michalow will host a kick-off event on February 18th at 7pm at his campaign headquarters located at 463 Lincoln Avenue in Bellevue.