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The rumors we've heard for a few weeks are now confirmed: Franco Harris' son, Franco "Dok" Harris, is throwing his hat into the ring to become the City of Pittsburgh's next Mayor as an Independent.

Below is a short statement released by the candidate this morning. You can read more about Dok Harris at his website, Let's Forge Ahead.

Franco “Dok” Harris Running for Mayor of Pittsburgh

March 09, 2009 10:00am

"Franco “Dok” Harris, 29, has announced his candidacy for Mayor of the City of Pittsburgh. A native Pittsburgher and graduate of the University of Pittsburgh School of Law and Carnegie Mellon’s Tepper School of Business, Mr. Harris has set forth a bold platform to address the many challenges facing the city and is committed to revitalizing our local economy.

I am running to be the next Mayor of the City of Pittsburgh because our city faces complex and difficult issues and requires wise stewardship to address them successfully.

The Pittsburgh of today faces an upcoming budget crunch and a profound pension crisis which must be met and addressed proactively before they cripple our hometown and further burden our already weakened infrastructure. We are now witnessing the local effects of a national economic downturn. We see neighborhoods ravaged by structural unemployment and crime. We watch as young graduates leave Pittsburgh to pursue careers in other cities. The Pittsburgh of today requires strong leadership to help it grow into a city that honors both the dreams of our children as well as the sacrifices of those who have gone before us.

As your mayor, the Pittsburgh of tomorrow will be an economic powerhouse; a green city that is a friend to businesses both small and large. Our city will work for our workers by ensuring fair wages and fair treatment. The Pittsburgh of tomorrow will be the intersection of labor and technology, where both startups and large corporations will benefit from the hard working blue collar spirit of our community and the intellectual trust of our universities. As your mayor I commit to building Pittsburgh into that city upon a hill - or in this case, three rivers – as an example of the role that good government has in our common successful future. I ask you to join me on this journey. Together, we will Forge Ahead.

I will face every problem and seize every opportunity in a manner that will promote safe communities, the health and welfare of our citizens, and the education of our next generation. I will be a vocal advocate of small business and will use my position to encourage individuals to open businesses in their communities, to hire within their communities, and to purchase within their communities. Pittsburgh is the heart and soul of Western Pennsylvania and the industry based here is the backbone of the region. It is my goal to make it a shining example of what cities can be. To that end, I will support our top notch police, fire, and emergency medical services, giving them the latest in tools and technologies while supporting the individuals who risk their lives to keep us safe. We will strategically address public transportation to encourage companies not just to move here, but to stay here. As mayor, I personally guarantee that all City contracts will be awarded in an open, fair, and completely transparent manner. In my administration the door to the Mayor’s office will remain open to everyone, and the era of pay-for-play will be at an end.

This is The City of Champions, not only on the field, but in our classrooms and boardrooms. We have world class universities and some of the nation’s greatest arts communities. As mayor, it will be one of my core goals to retain this intellectual trust, to keep young entrepreneurs in the City, and to support an arts community that enriches our minds and spirits. To that end, my administration will work with both the County and State to improve our tax system offering residents incentives to live, work, innovate, and build within the City’s limits.

I pledge to run an inclusive and open campaign. I will adhere to strict campaign contribution limits in order to guarantee to the citizens of Pittsburgh that each and every one of their voices will be heard. I will empower every Pittsburgher, - Democrat, Republican, and Independent; my supporter or the supporter of my opposition; residents of every neighborhood across this great city – empower every Pittsburgher to be involved in government and to know that their city is working with them and for them. I’m running for Mayor as an Independent because the crises we face as a city can only be solved by all of us joining together as Pittsburghers committed to revitalizing our city. We can no longer afford the luxury of divisiveness, but must instead take upon ourselves the burden of bipartisanship. Only together can we forge a new Pittsburgh, a city both deserving of its legacy and poised to shine as a high tech town with a blue collar soul.

I look forward to the opportunity to speak with people across this city, to encouraging them to help shape the future of Pittsburgh and to honor the hard work and sacrifice they have made to better their neighborhoods and this city as a whole.

I look forward to a spirited campaign, and have the utmost respect for the civic service and dedication of my fellow candidates.

Together, we will Forge Ahead. Thank you for your time, and God bless our City."

Franco Dok Harris

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Unknown said...

Not that I don't like it, but is there some reason that all mayoral candidates in Pittsburgh have been drinking legally for less than a decade?

BurressWithButterflywings said...

His educational background seems solid, has a Bachelors from Princeton as well as the post grad work at Pitt and CMU.

Unlike our current Mayor, he has also held real full-time jobs, not merely elected positions or summer posts handed down by Grandpa.

Maybe he can be a positive 3rd party candidate?

johnny said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

No incumbent Mayor is going to lose. Especially not an incumbent with huge approval ratings who is well liked all over the city.

jmarinara said...

I LOVE this line: *rolls eyes*

"We see neighborhoods ravaged by structural unemployment and crime. We watch as young graduates leave Pittsburgh to pursue careers in other cities. "

This, after being one of the few cities that announced a decrease in unemployment last month and has, relatively, few crime problems. (Don't believe me? Try walking anywhere but downtown in Chicago sometime. And don't try downtown after 6PM)

And the line about graduates leaving to work other places . . . good grief. When we have as many people as we have in our city (or greater metro area) GOING to college, sure, you're going to have some folks who want to work somewhere else. But to cite a supposed "brain drain" in a city with an ever growing and ADVANCING job market is ridiculous.

In other words, little Franco here copied the typical campaign rhetoric that every major city mayoral candidate feed the electorate every. single. year. I am so sick of the nonsense we get from the political class these days.

Not a resident of the city so I won't be voting, but it would be nice if the city that this area revolves around would actually elect someone that knows how to run a (comparatively) functional city instead of just seeking power by repeating the same old tired political rhetoric. (note I called it "functional". . . not "well run" or "problem free")

Constant Gardener said...

No incumbent Mayor is going to lose. Especially not an incumbent with huge approval ratings who is well liked all over the city.

That should actually read, "No incumbent Mayor is going to lose. Especially not the candidate who has the Democratic party machine behind them."

Ravenstahl lucked into the job thanks to Council's infighting and has barely been competent when not embarrassing this city outright. I don't want to be stuck with another Tom Murphy.

Unknown said...

Matt H said...
No incumbent Mayor is going to lose. Especially not an incumbent with huge approval ratings who is well liked all over the city.

Now there's a reach if I ever read one!

Anonymous said...

His polling numbers are in the 70% area

Jeff said...

Whoever ends up running the city, the single biggest issue, which remains the limiting factor in any mayor's ability to do anything positive, is growing the tax base - without raising taxes. No revenue growth = no improvement in services.

The city needs to persuade high income households to live in city neighborhoods, instead of the Franklin Park, Pine Richland, Fox Chapel cliches. That is not going to happen, at least not in sufficient scale, if the public school system continues to suck. Even wealthy families tend to balk at paying city taxes + private school tuition. If you're paying high taxes, your kids should have good, safe schools - with other smart, motivated kids.

The city also needs to continue to attract and expand redevelopment efforts like the Southside Works, Bakery Square, and Baum/Liberty Crossing. Pittsburgh has a lot of blighted neighborhoods. They have to be rebuilt.