A Philadelphia story becomes another political story


Following spoken word artist Ursula Rucker, State Representative Tony Payton is telling his own story and emphasizing that young people (he’s 27, was elected at 25) too often think of “change” happening outside of their control.

He talked about how many of the important decisions that are made that affect young people (education policy, voting-age policy, driving-age policy) are made at the state level.

“If you are going to change things, first you have to be aware, then you have to act,” said Payton.

Payton then told his story about his first election and how he “took his message directly to the people” bypassing the “machine politics.” Payton, who was instructed that he shouldn’t give a political speech, used his opportunity in front of the crowd to attack the Democratic party establishment that decided not to endorse him. He made his case for his own re-election.

Unfortunately for Payton, a quick poll of the students in the crowd (by hands raised) indicated that none of them live in his district.

The question and answer section gave Payton more opportunities to campaign against his opponent – saying that his opponent didn’t appear “to have any platform” aside from being born and raised in the district and that his opponent refused to debate him.

One question from the crowd asked Payton what he would say to his opponent if given the chance to debate.  Payton replied that he’d simply ask what accomplishments his opponent has that compare to his own and what his plans for the district are since he hasn’t seemed to have put forth any.

In the interest of equal time, at least on this blog, it’s worth pointing out that Payton’s opponent, Guy Lewis, was recently endorsed by the Daily News for, among other things, his plans for his district.

The last couple of questions to Payton were about education, including a question about his suggestion for how to fund schools more equitably while also lowering property taxes.

He wrapped up his speech with the standard “you can get involved” exhortation to the crowd.


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