Marc Stier

Democrat for State Representative

Working Together to Build Strong Communities

 

My Last Speech for Now

On Tuesday, I gave a speech at what I hoped would be our victory party, talking about this campaign and thanking everyone. who took part in it. I would like to share it with you. Like all of my speeches during the campaign, I gave this one without a text. So I don't have a record of what I actually said. But this text captures what I felt and much of what I said.

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Thank you all for coming tonight.

This speech may be a little ragged, as it is not a speech I was expecting to make. I really thought we had a good shot to win this race.

The Race

I knew from the beginning that it would be a difficult race to win. It is always difficult to defeat an incumbent, even when the incumbent has had problems in office. And, because the district is so diverse, I knew that I would have to work hard to connect with people who did not know me and who were very different from one another and from me.

In addition, this was not the race we originally set out to run. I had expected to be in a four or five person race. If someone had told me in January that I had a good chance to win what is almost a two person race, I would have said they were crazy. But, once Rosita Youngblood's attorneys got through with us, we were in a totally different race. It was a much harder, and more expensive, race than we planned to run. We had to put a much larger operation into the field. And we had to send our mailings more broadly than we had planned.

That much we did accomplish and with impressive results.  But, for a variety of reasons, we fell short. The biggest problem was that we just ran out of time to talk to voters and activists in the district.  

Despite this, and other problems, this campaign had a real impact. I came much closer to winning than most people expected. And I could not have accomplished that without your support, for which I am very grateful.

The Issues We Raised

Because of your support, we were able to talk about problems in this district that have been ignored for too long.

I saw first hand how just a few houses create terrible difficulties for the people in who live on each block. And by talking about it so much, perhaps I helped people recognize the problem and realize that something could be done about it.

I saw first hand how much  commercial development is necessary in parts of the district; how far many people are from decent stores and supermarkets; how relatively few African Americans own businesses in their own community; and how debilitating high unemployment rates can be in a neighborhood. By talking about these issues so much perhaps I helped more people recognize this problem and realize that something can be done about it. 

I made serious suggestions about how we can rehabilitate our housing stock and how we can use transportation and parking improvement and small grants to stimulate commercial development on the Avenue. And I pointed out that we have two incredibly promising areas for large scale development in this district, the sinking homes area in Logan and the old factory district at Wissahickon and Hunting Park Avenues. Perhaps the attention we directed towards these areas will stimulate politicians and developers to make something happen in them.

This campaign also raised important issues for the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania as a whole. I talked about the critical importance of dedicated money for public transportation, about the scandalous way in which we fund public education and about the need to raise the minimum wage. I focused attention on the services that would allow our seniors to stay in their own homes as they age. And I pointed to the need for serious reform in our political system. Again, I hope that my campaign will stimulate you and others to address these fundamental issues and to continue fighting to make our political community more just.

Thank You

That I was able to raise these issues at all is due in large part to all the help I had.

My wife Diane was just amazing. She put up with all the dinners I missed and all the work around the house I did not do. She gave me love and support as well as the best advice about every aspect of the campaign.

This afternoon, Diane worked with my mother-in-law, Betty Gottlieb, a few volunteers and my daughter Katja, to call over 400 people to remind them to vote. You should have seen Katja work the phones, asking people to come out to vote for her Daddy. She was wonderful today and throughout the campaign. She put up cheerfully with my absences and with our incessant talk about the campaign. And her pride in what I was doing helped keep me going when times were rough.

Bill Durham, my campaign manager, worked incredibly hard on this campaign from the first incredibly cold day in January when we started collecting petitions to today. He guided me in the fine art of campaigning. And he helped me connect to the parts of the district I did not know well.

Working with a professional campaign consultant like D. A. Jones was an extraordinary experience. I learned so much from him about how a modern campaign is run. Together with Russ Oster, he was responsible for our mailings and phone calls.

Pete Winebrake was a source of great advice, and help with legal problems, as well as being our treasurer. He was one of the first people to think that my running for this office was a good idea and he supported me at each step of the way.

So many other people helped out that I can't name them allóbut I should mention Ken Weinstein, Bob Philips, Betty Ann and David Fellner, Sam Sneed, Carroll Tillman, David Schogel, Vernon Reynolds, Mary Suttles, Barbara Savior, and John and Julie O'Connell  for the special support they gave me. Curtis McAllister's support in the last week was very helpful. The legal team that helped me stay on the ballot, Dan Segal and Nina Russakoff were amazing. I am grateful to Anne and Bill Ewing and Bill Hangley for putting me together with Dan and Nina.

Vernon Price was not an official part of the campaign team. But most of the things I have accomplished in Mt. Airy were done working side by side with him.

One of the things I was going to say in the victory speech I hoped to give was that much that happens to us in life is not really in our control. We work hard and try to focus our energies at the task at hand. But we work in, and are the product of, circumstances that are not of our own making. And there are events along the way that we could not have predicted and that are not really in our hands.

Whether we win or lose, we should be profoundly grateful for, and humbled by, everything that makes it possible for us to take part in important endeavors. Whether it is God or fate or sheer chance that puts us where we are in life, we are self-deluding if we do not acknowledge that what we do and achieve is largely not a product of our own efforts.

That is why I am so grateful to all of you who have given me, and the 198th district, so much.

Mt. Airy

And I am especially grateful to my own community, Mt. Airy. The vote for me here was overwhelming. But I thank this community for much more than that. Everyone who campaigns for office exaggerates just a little. And in the last few weeks I have done that. I have been talking about my work in bringing the Acme to Germantown Avenue, the playground to the Houston School, the CVS to Lincoln Drive, and in stopping unwanted development in residential neighborhoods. All of you from Mt. Airy know that these things were our collective achievement, not the result of my work alone. I ran in large part on the record of this great community in which I live. I hoped to encourage the whole district to emulate our tolerance and spirit of activism. And that is what we did in putting together a coalition that included people from one end of the district to another; blacks and whites; and people who are both high and low on the economic scale.

And, finally, my candidacy was a product of Mt. Airy in another way. People sometimes wondered how a white guy with a Harvard Ph.D. could connect so well with the range of people in this district. The answer is that I live and work in one of the most diverse and open communities in the country. What we learn in Mt. Airy is to be comfortable with people different from ourselves. And that mostly means learning how to be ourselves whomever we are with and wherever we are.

So thank you all for your support and efforts. I know that in one way or another, all of us will keep working together to build stronger communities.