CIVIC ORGANIZATIONS PRESS SOUTHEAST PA CANDIDATES ON REGIONAL COLLABORATION VIA SURVEY Twenty asked to discuss vision of and challenges to area’s success
Allison Kelsey, Economy League, 215 563 3640 x14
Luz Cardenas, United Way, 215 520 8850
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE CIVIC ORGANIZATIONS PRESS SOUTHEAST PA CANDIDATES ON REGIONAL COLLABORATION VIA SURVEY
Twenty asked to discuss vision of and challenges to area’s success
October 24, 2007 – Philadelphia, PA – Six of Greater Philadelphia’s leading regional civic organizations today released the results of the Political Candidates as Regional Leaders Questionnaire. This first-ever survey asked those running for commissioners’ seats in Bucks, Chester, and Montgomery counties, Delaware County Council, and Philadelphia’s two mayoral candidates to discuss their top issues through a regional, rather than county, lens. The questions included:
What do you believe to be the top three challenges to the Greater Philadelphia region's success?
What critical issue(s) would you like to address in collaboration with the commissioners and the mayor of the other counties in Southeastern Pennsylvania?
Would you be an active participant in (or supporter of) a council of county and municipal executives from across the region working to address shared challenges?
The impetus for the Questionnaire was the shared belief among these groups that, although so many economic, cultural, social, and environmental interests are regional, political candidates seldom are asked during a campaign to offer their views about working with the governments, businesses, community agencies, and civic organizations located beyond their political boundaries. Similarly fragmented metropolitan areas with cross-county challenges such as Denver and Chicago have formed regional councils to beneficial effect. Since 1997, for example, Chicago’s Metropolitan Mayors Caucus has been a powerful force to create programs and support state legislation to improve overall quality of life for the 8.5 million residents of its 6-county region.
Collaborating in this Philadelphia effort are the CEO Council for Growth, an affiliate of the Greater Philadelphia Chamber of Commerce; Economy League of Greater Philadelphia; Greater Philadelphia Cultural Alliance; Greater Philadelphia --- more -- Regional Candidates Questionnaire, p. 2/3 Urban Affairs Coalition; Pennsylvania Environment Council, Southeast Region; and United Way of Southeastern Pennsylvania.
Respondents expressed openness to working across county lines and political parties to tackle southeastern Pennsylvania’s issues. Challenges most frequently cited were transportation, open space preservation, and attracting and retaining an educated workforce. A few also discussed the importance of building public trust in government.
“Public transportation, open space protection, water quality and flooding are critical issues that demand regional attention and solutions,” said Patrick Starr, Vice President, Pennsylvania Environmental Council. “I am pleased to see that several candidates are ready to work with their colleagues across county lines to tackle these complex issues.”
Said Cultural Alliance Executive Director Peggy Amsterdam, "Just as we ask our elected officials to work collaboratively across county lines, it's equally important for civic organizations to work collaboratively across issues. This candid and focused dialog is an important step forward that will benefit citizens throughout region."
“As reflected in the strategies we have chosen for bringing change to our communities, our annual regional fundraising campaign, and even our name, we at United Way are committed to the principle that working together is the key to creating results far greater than what any of us could accomplish alone,” said Alba Martinez, President and CEO of United Way of Southeastern Pennsylvania.
“So it is quite exciting to us that so many of those seeking elected office in southeastern Pennsylvania want to lead the region towards more collaborative approaches to our many shared challenges.”
Responses are posted at www.IssuesPhiladelphia.org today; additional questionnaires will be posted as received.
Economy League Executive Director Steve Wray also wants voters to consider the counties that surround them. “People live regionally, so they should be aware of a candidate’s willingness to problemsolve across political and geographic borders.”
About the CEO Council for Growth
The CEO Council for Growth (CEO Council) is a group of key business executives committed to the Greater Philadelphia region's growth and prosperity. Through high-impact initiatives designed to stimulate jobs and new business opportunities the CEO Council pursues a focused, energetic and sustained effort to expand the Greater Philadelphia economy. An affiliate of the Greater Philadelphia Chamber of Commerce, the CEO Council works to: overcome regional fragmentation; promote Greater Philadelphia as an important place to do business; and advocate for policies to improve the area as a place to live and work.
About the Economy League of Greater Philadelphia
The Economy League of Greater Philadelphia is an independent, nonpartisan, nonprofit organization dedicated to research and analysis of the region’s resources and challenges with the goal of promoting sound public policy and increasing the region’s prosperity. The Political Candidates as Regional Leaders Questionnaire is a project of the --- more -- Regional Candidates Questionnaire, p. 3/3 Economy League’s IssuesPhiladelphia initiative. Issues Philadelphia seeks to focus government on efficiently and effectively providing the results that matter to city residents. The Economy League is an affiliate of the Pennsylvania Economy League, Inc., with offices in Harrisburg, Wilkes Barre, and Pittsburgh.
About the Greater Philadelphia Cultural Alliance
The Cultural Alliance leads the effort to expand awareness of, participation in and support for arts and culture in the Greater Philadelphia region. The Alliance serves 350+ member organizations, ranging from museums and dance companies to community art centers, historic sites, music ensembles, and zoos. Services to the field include cultural policy, collaborative marketing, grantmaking, and membership benefits. Highlights of recent activities are PhillyFunGuide, the region’s FunSavers, a discount ticket e-mail program serving 64,000 subscribers; Arts, Culture, and Economic Prosperity in Greater Philadelphia, a 2007 report that documents the substantial economic impact of arts and culture in the region; and the Philadelphia Cultural List Cooperative, the largest database of cultural consumers in the country.
About the Greater Philadelphia Urban Affairs Coalition
GPUAC unites government, business, neighborhoods, and individual initiative to improve the quality of life in the region, build wealth in urban communities, and solve emerging issues. For more information, visit www.gpuac.org. About the Pennsylvania Environmental Council The Pennsylvania Environmental Council (PEC) protects and restores the natural and built environments through innovation, collaboration, education and advocacy. PEC believes in the value of partnerships with the private sector, government, communities and individuals to improve the quality of life for all Pennsylvanians. Our work helps build sustainable communities, protect our water resources, and address energy and climate issues.
About United Way of Southeastern Pennsylvania
Founded in 1921 by the business community, United Way of Southeastern Pennsylvania improves people’s lives by mobilizing the caring power of donors, volunteers and communities across the region. The organization is focused on preparing children to succeed in school and in life, on building financial stability and independence for families, and on keeping seniors healthy and safe at home. Governed by local volunteers, United Way of Southeastern Pennsylvania is one of the region’s largest non-profit organizations and one of approximately 1,400 affiliated but independent United Ways nationwide.