This year, at least three members of the Working Families Party will be vying for elected positions in the City of Philadelphia. The Working Families Party’s (WFP) website landing page declares, “Making Our Nation Work for the Many, Not the Few.” I certainly believe that all Americans deserve an equal opportunity, but equal opportunity is not a guarantee for equal outcome. America was built upon the hard work of individuals who saw this nation as a land of opportunity. The free-market system provides opportunities to all. The Working Families Party is certainly not the party of opportunity. They are the party of socialism, a system that history has proven time and time again to hinder growth, cause job loss and hurt economic prosperity.
Bernie Sanders himself in 2016 proclaimed, “The WFP is the closest thing there is to a political party that believes in my vision of democratic socialism.” Despite Philadelphia being one of the most taxed cities in the nation, WFP member, Councilmember Kendra Brooks, introduced a wealth tax which would levy a tax on stocks and bonds. This is just another example of the excessive tax and spend mentality of progressive leaders.
The Working Families Party additionally promotes ideologies like the defunding of the police and the opening of safe injection sites. These are policies that do not represent my family’s values. Do they represent yours?
As we look at the crime epidemic plaguing the great City of Philadelphia, it is worth noting the views of the Working Families Party regarding the great men and women in blue. On May 31, 2020, the Twitter feed of the Working Families Party proudly proclaimed, “Defund the Police.” As our city saw protests turn to riots and buildings burnt to the ground, the WFP was screaming to defund the police.
One WFP endorsed candidate, State Representative Rick Krajewski, has been quoted stating that he would like to abolish prisons and defund the police. “This doesn’t change my vision in that I am fundamentally an abolitionist,” he said. “I envision a model of safety and accountability that isn’t upheld through prisons, mass policing, and mass incarceration.”
Philadelphia saw 562 murders in 2021 and 516 in 2022. This two-year span contained more murders in the City of Brotherly Love than any other two-year span in history. Philadelphia and other cities are seeing the results of the defund the police movement. An August 19, 2022, Philadelphia Inquirer article reported that the Philadelphia Police Department was short 1,300 officers. Groups like the Working Families Party calling for the defunding of police have had horrific, lasting effects on the quality of life in Philadelphia.
Much of the blame for Philadelphia’s crime epidemic can be placed on the soft on crime ultra-progressive policies of our District Attorney Larry Krasner. It is worth noting that the District Attorney was recently pictured proudly supporting WFP candidate Jarrett Smith’s announcement for Philadelphia Commissioner. Support of the Working Families Party and their agenda is support of the dubious social engineering experiment of the Philadelphia District Attorney’s Office.
In March 2020, Councilman David Oh introduced a bill condemning the lack of transparency on the part of the city and the nonprofit Safehouse in attempting to open what would have been the nation’s first supervised injection site. Only two Councilmembers voted against the bill; one was Councilmember Kendra Brooks. On her own Facebook page, Councilmember Brooks promotes these “safe” injection sites, “Overdose Prevention Centers save lives and heal communities.” There is no such thing as “safe” heroin usage.
Addiction is a disease and should be treated as such, but enabling those addicts with safe injection sites harms both the addicts and the surrounding community. Despite a lack of evidence that “safe” injection sites break the cycle of addiction, members of the Working Families Party continue to promote these coming to a Philadelphia neighborhood near you, near your family, near your schools, and near your playgrounds.
The 2023 election cycle in Philadelphia will see at least three Working Families Party members vying for seats on City Council and the Commissioner’s Office. In Philadelphia, two of the seven at-large Council seats are reserved for minority parties. Consequently, as a result of the overwhelming majority of Democrats, these two seats have traditionally been held by Republicans.
In 2019, however, this changed when WFP member Kendra Brooks won one of those two seats. The intent of the two minority seats is to promote a diverse opinion on Council and to provide a level of balance in ideology. It is my opinion that the WFP ‘s presence achieves neither of these objectives. On their web-site, the Working Families Party espouses, “The American political system is rigged to favor the two major parties. But the Working Families Party is building our own party on top of the two-party system in the United States — and it’s working. We organize outside the two parties, and then we recruit and train people-powered candidates up and down the ballot and run them to win.”
However, a review of the WFP web site reveals a surprising fact. The eighteen Working Families Party endorsed candidates in Pennsylvania for the 2022 election cycle have an interesting thing in common to one another, they are all Democrats. If the WFP was an independent party as it espouses, why are their endorsed candidates not members of the Working Families Party? Imagine the list of Republican-endorsed candidates all being from the Democrat Party.
The bottom line is that the Working Families Party is not a true independent party. They are an ultra-progressive branch of the Democrat Party. When they cannot achieve goals on their own, they latch onto the long history and stronghold of the Democrat Party in Philadelphia. Many moderate Democrats, I understand, are not happy.
The Working Families Party does not even live up to their own ideals. On their site, the Working Families Party advocates for “getting money out of politics.” However, history tells us the WFP is doing the opposite. In 2019, it was reported that the national Working Families Party spent more than $247,000 to boost two candidates running for Philadelphia City Council, according to campaign finance records for the party’s independent expenditure arm. Rumor has it that number will drastically increase in 2023 with the three Working Families candidates and endorsement of Helen Gym for mayor.
In November, you will have a choice between Republican candidates and candidates from the Working Families Party. It is time to bring balance and common sense back to City Hall. It is time to put an end to the soft-on-crime policies that are plaguing the City of Brotherly Love. It is time to tell officials that we do not want “safe” injection sites in our communities. It is time to tell the Working Families Party that their values do not reflect yours.
Drew Murray is a Philly GOP-endorsed Republican candidate for city council at-large