Statement from John Patterson on 2022 PA Dems Chair vote

On Saturday, I was proud to join with others and elect the first African-American Chair of the Pennsylvania Democratic Party in its 230 year history. I’d like to take a minute to discuss my rationale for my vote.

Committee members were lobbied heavily by both Senator Street (who ran on his own accord) and Gerry Lawrence, an attorney from Delaware County, longtime State Committee member, and personal choice of gubernatorial nominee Josh Shapiro. I had the opportunity to speak with both. It was refreshing to hear both agree that for Democrats to win in November, we will need to run a 67 county campaign.

Where the two differed was in speaking to how they would organize that campaign and invest in those 67 counties. Senator Street believes that Democrats all over our state know how to turn out our neighbors to vote, and plans to raise funds specifically to donate them to county committees, including Franklin. A portion of a statement from Senator Street further summarizes my view that he understands the challenges Democrats will have winning elections this year and in the future:

“It has become clear that Black and Brown people in urban areas feel that the party has taken them for granted – that rural Democrats feel the party has forgotten about them – and progressive activists feel like they have no home in the party. I will focus much of my time as chair trying to engage these important Democratic constituencies helping them feel at home in the party.

Our party cannot simply be an extension of a statewide candidate’s campaign – it must prioritize engaging Democratic voters in every part of the state, building a foundation to elect good Democratic candidates on all levels of government, including school board members, township supervisors, county commissioners, and state legislators in the House and Senate.”

Ultimately, I voted to elect Senator Sharif Street because I believe he will be the most effective leader of our party this year and continuing into 2023 and 2024.

John Patterson
State Committee Member, Franklin County

Newly elected PA Dems Chair Sharif Street, his wife April, and outgoing Chair Nancy Mills