Growing up as the youngest of six children in a single-parent household, I learned how difficult and unforgiving life can be. Watching my mother struggle to pay the bills while working multiple jobs built an indomitable spirit and a never-say-die attitude. My mom would always remind me that quitting is never an option and that God has an appointed time for all people who believe in themselves. We were not financially abundant, but my mom made sure we were rich in faith and belief.
I have never been afraid to put myself out there and fail in front of everyone. I was a fighter with eighteen professional fights, at the age of 30 I changed careers from the trades to real estate with two young children and a fiancée at home. Last year I ran for state senate. Watching my father die at a young age taught me to seize the day and live a life outside of my comfort zone. That’s why this journey brought me to Harrowgate to run my real estate business because I have faith. I can see the long-term vision and I know how to weather a storm and outlast the pain to get to the prize.
For over 71 years, the Democrat Party has controlled the mayor’s office in Philadelphia. Since 1952, Republicans have continued to lose elections and we still have yet to reclaim those seats. In 2019, one of the most embarrassing defeats happened when we lost our council at-large seat to the Working Families Party. In City Hall, we have one district council seat with Brian O’Neil and with David Oh running for mayor we could lose the last council at-large seat to the extremist Working Families Party.
What happened since 1952 that has put the backs of the Philadelphia Republican party on the ropes? After we lose an election, you will often hear someone say it’s a Democrat city. How can we blame the Democrat Party for the failures of the Republican Party? I was 15-3 as a fighter. When I lost a fight it wasn’t my opponent’s fault, it was my fault. Winning is a good teacher, losing is a great teacher. With the number of elections the republicans have lost we should have so much knowledge on what to do to win, but the leadership here continues to go down the same path over and over again.
The patterns never change. The Philly GOP will continue to ask for your contributions and will continue to make the same mistakes. They’ll continue to make the same empty promises because they are never held accountable.
What people don’t know is that I became a member of the United Republican Club in 2020. That’s when I saw firsthand the problems within the Philly GOP leadership. The most glaring issue that you can’t miss is the excessive amount of alcohol use that runs rampant in the party leadership. I know that may sound harsh but it’s an unfortunate part of the culture of the party. It’s not prudent to consume that much alcohol that often and still expect to come up with good ideas to get our candidates elected. It’s not a winning strategy. The Republican Party should be run more like a business and less like a social club.
Excessive alcohol use dulls a person’s spirit and slowly destroys their will to fight. The Republican Party needs fighters right now more than ever.
The “good old boys club” needs fresh new faces who bring new ideas. If you want to win in Philadelphia you have to be out in the communities year-round. Showing up three months before an election and taking a picture with your drinking buddies is the absolute bare minimum and it does not fool the voters. People in Philadelphia can smell fakeness from a mile away. We need workers who are willing to go into the underserved neighborhoods and help be part of the solution. Posting about the problems we are facing and lying about candidates who are working from your Facebook account is not what Philadelphia needs. We need competitors who can show the people of Philadelphia that they have a viable option ready to serve.
Philadelphians are tired of the same people playing the same games that keep us down. What ideas are they? It’s deciding to not run any candidates against Democrat incumbents for any district council seat. If you ask some ward leaders, they will tell you that you don’t want to run a Republican against them because more Democrats will show up and vote.
How about running fake candidates to keep me off the ballot for council at large? Have you heard Gary Grisafi, Mary Jane Kelly, or Francis Cristinzio’s announcement that they are running? I was told by party leadership when I didn’t seek the Philly GOP endorsement it was impossible to get 1,000 Republican signatures by myself. Guess what? We are on the ballot and I want all 120,000 registered Republicans in Philadelphia to know I am here to fight for our public safety and our children’s education.
I don’t stand with the decision-makers within the Philly GOP. You can simply Google their names and read the public record to see why. I stand with the people of Philadelphia. People who want to take their streets back from the hands of criminals. People who want quality education for all of our children.
We need good, effective leadership in Philly, who will not play the political games that get in the way of progress. It’s time to make a statement to the political machine that we want a real fighter who will stand up for the people and not the party! Let’s kick the extremist Working Families Party out of City Hall once and for all!
Sam Oropeza is a Republican candidate for city council at-large.