Brian Gralnick for State Senate
PA SD-4 in PA http://www.briangralnick.com/
1095 Rydal Rd, Suite 300
Primary Election Date: 2014-05-20 General Election Date: 2014-11-04
Who am I?
My name is Brian Gralnick and I grew up in the district in a middle class home with working parents. I am the proud product of a public school education that prepared me to lead and succeed later in life. I attended The George Washington University where I studied criminal justice, and began a long career of activism by founding a student movement whose aim was to end the injustices of mass incarceration and the New Jim Crow. During this time, I saw firsthand the inherit inequalities in our system and began a lifelong mission to bring fairness back to our communities.
After graduating, I returned to my hometown of Cheltenham to serve my community in the office of State Representative Larry Curry. I worked with constituents from across the district to secure government services and improve the quality of life for many in the 154th. From there, I moved into the Rendell administration where I worked with older adults to implement the Medicare Prescription Drug program, and bring much needed assistance to seniors across the state.
I took the skills from my government and advocacy work to the non-profit world when I accepted a program director position at the United Way of Southeastern Pennsylvania. In my time there, I secured millions of dollars of funding for safety-net organizations across the region, including many institutions in the 4th district like the Center in the Park senior center and the Visiting Nurses Association in Abington.
After several years at United Way, I became Director of the Center for Social Responsibility at the Jewish Federation of Philadelphia. In this role, I worked with elected officials, private donor and non-profit organizations to strengthen the safety-net and bring millions of dollars to the region. I lead the charge against Gov. Tom Corbett asset testing of SNAP (food stamp) recipients with the Food Stamp Challenge, bringing together elected officials, the media and community leaders from across the Commonwealth to stand in solidarity with our most needy residents.
As our Senator, I will take the lessons he learned from a career in advocacy and government to Harrisburg. My experience will ensure that we not only have a passionate and effective advocate in government, but also top notch constituent services to ensure that the people of the 4th district always have access to the services they need and deserve.
Why am I running?
I am running for State Senate to fight for fairness for the middle class, quality public education, and equality for all Pennsylvanians. Starting from my first college internship providing civil legal assistance to D.C. prison inmates, I saw the lack of leadership among elected officials to address the policies and practices that incarcerated so many of my generation, sending young people to new prisons and old schools. During my time organizing students against the so called war on drugs, I recognized that we needed leaders who would rise about rhetoric and advocate for common sense and human public policy.
Recently, my state senator voted against public schools in favor for school vouchers and a bill that would have devastated public education. I believe that we need elected officials who won't give up on public education, but fight to strengthen it, and the students who deserve the high quality education that I received. When my state senator missed voted on critical issues like voter ID, medicaid expansion, $45 million dollars in assistance to city schools, I knew we needed better representation.
Quality public schools, a strong safety-net and an end to mass incarceration are three top policy goals. I have been an advocate all of my life and given my experience in the state legislature, the PA Dept of Aging and non-profit organizations I am confident I have the experience to immediately lead and succeed as a Senator and advocate.
We will achieve my goals because inaction is too costly, because inaction is inhumane. A strong public education is the best investment government can make. Educated youth become self-sufficient adults who contribute to our communities. A strong safety-net is critical towards preventing further costs to caring for vulnerable individuals. We can reduce our addiction to prisons for low-level non-violent offenders to save money that should be directed to public education at the same time keeping families together.
The goals I put forward are goals that can unite everyone in our Commonwealth because they are investments in our future and in our families.
My DFA Values
My campaign has a robust field grassroots operation that works in and with the community, going door to door, and talking with voters face to face. The Gralnick campaign actively participates in community meetings and work with organizers to hear what the people's concerns and needs are so we can help find workable solutions to keep their voices heard. The Gralnick campaign has been working with senior centers and half-way houses to involve their residents in talking to their neighbors and keeping abreast of local issues. Throughout my campaign my grassroots team will continue to be out in the community speaking and working directly with the residents of this District. This is not a job that can be done by just one representative but only by involving and working hand in hand with the community through grassroots organizing. As State Senator, I can then carry that fight on to Harrisburg to make sure the voices of our citizens are heard.
My Campaign is People Powered!
Throughout my professional life I have always worked with local agencies and organizations to bring their work closer to the community and involve the citizens in the political process. I have seen first hand the impact and benefit of working on the ground and empowering those most impacted by public policy.
Gralnick's campaign already has in place a full field team that has been out in the community developing a grassroots program that brings them face to face with our constituents, involved in conversations and participating in community events that listens to the district's needs and concerns first hand.
Gralnick's field team worked with a local halfway house that promotes training and success programs for recently incarcerated women. We trained and compensated the women to be successful speaking with their neighbors and promoting issues important to them. The program was so successful we are now looking at further training these individuals to work in other aspects of our campaign.
I will continue to bring more of these conversations together and encourage our united and strengthened voice to be brought to Harrisburg in true representation of the residents of District 4.