Striving to Move From Communal Activist to State Lawmaker

Two Democratic contenders for separate seats in the Pennsylvania legislature are names that might look familiar to people involved in Jewish communal work. 
 
Brian Gralnick, director of the Center for Social Responsibility at the Jewish Federation of Greater Philadelphia and a past president of the Jewish Social Policy Action Network, is running for State Senate in the 4th District, which covers Montgomery County and parts of Philadelphia.
 
Marianne Moskowitz, who served on the Federation’s board of trustees in the late 90s and early aughts and has been active in developing Jewish communal life in Chester County, is seeking to represent the 157th District in the State House.
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LeAnna Washington challenger cites activist background

Embattled State Sen. LeAnna Washington, D-4th, recently indicted and already facing a tough reelection bid, has a new challenger in up-and-coming Democrat Brian Gralnick, a Cheltenham native and George Washington University graduate who has dedicated the bulk of his life and career to public service.

Statewide primary elections are May 20.

Although young – Gralnick will be 35 in July – and lacking the political experience that can only be gained by serving in office, Gralnick does possess an extensive civic and activism background, which includes stints as president of the Jewish Social Policy Action Network and being a founding member of the Germantown Anti-Hunger Network.

In fact, it is that type of citizen-driven leadership Gralnick said will help differentiate him from Washington and the other candidates vying for the seat.

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Public education becomes a hot topic at Democratic senate candidates’ forum

Education was a hot topic at a 4th Senatorial District candidates’ forum hosted by Mt. Airy-Nippon-Bryan-Cheshire Town Watch on Thursday, May 1. More than a dozen residents crowded into the living room of 114 Nippon St., hoping to listen to incumbent LeAnna Washington and contenders Brian Gralnick and Art Haywood present their platforms.

Although each candidate had promised to attend, Brian Gralnick was the only candidate who spoke at the forum.

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Washington, Haywood, Gralnick contend for 4th Senatorial District seat

A 10-year incumbent and two newcomers will face off in the primary election May 20, vying for a spot to represent the Democrats in the General Election this fall.

Incumbent state Sen. LeAnna Washington, D-4, will contend with newcomers Art Haywood and Brian Gralnick for a place on the ballot in November.

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Gralnick Picks Up Two Philadelphia-based Endorsements

Democratic primary challenger Brian Gralnick in the PA-4 Senate race was recently endorsed by the Philadelphia Ward 9 Democratic Committee and the Americans for Democratic Action (ADA) Southeastern PA chapter.

“We honestly felt Brian was the best choice and he certainly is ready to take on the tough job of senator,” said John O’Connell, 9th Ward Leader in a press statement released by the Gralnick campaign.

“We’re excited to endorse Brian Gralnick for the 4th Senatorial District in the upcoming primary,” said Glenavie Norton, chair of the Southeastern Chapter of Americans for Democratic Action. “His background of public service, combined with his energy and vision for our community, makes him a fantastic candidate and someone we are glad to support.” ADA is one of the oldest liberal political organizations in the country, founded in 1947 by progressives aligned with leaders such as Eleanor Roosevelt and Hubert Humphrey. Over the years the chapter has played a significant local political role, including the drafting of the Philadelphia Home Rule Charter in 1951 and leading the movement to recall Mayor Frank Rizzo after his 1975 re-election.

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Gralnick Endorsed by PA NOW in PA-4 Democratic Senate Contest

Challenger Brian Gralnick notched his first major endorsement this week for the PA-4 state Senate seat with the announcement of support from the PA chapter of the National Organization for Women (NOW).

“Brian Gralnick is dedicated to fighting for equal opportunity for all. He has a strong record on the issues NOW cares about the most, including reproductive rights, economic justice and worker rights, LGBT rights, and promoting strong public schools,” said Caryn Hunt President of PA NOW.

Hunt told Citizens’ Call that Gralnick “has worked tirelessly on our issues and – he’s a candidate we’re happy to endorse.” The two other candidates for the seat, the incumbent, Sen. LeAnna Washington and Cheltenham Ward 2 Comr. Art Haywood were also considered, she said.

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PA-4 Senate Race Running Under the Radar Screen and Difficult to Gauge

There’s been an unusual primary race brewing in PA’s fourth Senatorial District since candidate petitions were filed on March 11. Two challengers already were set to battle incumbent Democratic veteran legislator LeAnna Washington when posing a credible challenge to an incumbent in these parts is almost unprecedented. And then on March 12 the political earth moved in PA-4 when criminal charges were filed against Washington for diverting state resources to past re-election campaigns.

Challengers Brian Gralnick, an activist with a career in the non-profit world and Cheltenham Township Ward 2 Comr. Art Haywood are running to unseat Washington, who has served in the Senate since 2005 and before that in the House from 1993. Oddly, all three candidates reside in Cheltenham, with Washington having moved in recently.

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