John Fetterman drew national attention as the Ivy-league-educated progressive who returned to the Rust Belt to try to reinvigorate Braddock as its mayor. And following his Nov. 6 victory, Lt. Governor-Elect Fetterman’s story will, no doubt, get even bigger.
But what does it mean for Braddock? Fetterman cast a big shadow. And now that he has announced his intention to remain in Braddock rather than take up residency in the Lt. Governor’s mansion, is there a candidate who can emerge from that shadow and continue moving the borough forward as the next mayor, perhaps another vibrant African American in the mold of Mon. Valley state Reps. Summer Lee and Austin Davis?
Braddock Council President Tina Doose, who gained regional attention during the fight to remove abusive school police and administrators from the Woodland Hill School District, said council is accepting letters and resumes from interested parties—and even placed a “Help Wanted” ad in the local Valley Mirror newspaper. Council will appoint one of the applicants as interim mayor to serve the remainder of Fetterman’s term. She will not be among them.
“When John came in—the young Harvard-educated White guy coming back to Braddock—that was a great narrative. It sold, and it made it easier for me to do my job,” said Doose, in an interview with the New Pittsburgh Courier, Nov. 13.
“And I’m not giving up my legislative position. Braddock is moving forward. We have a company we’re talking to that wants to put its national headquarters here, another just paid $3 million for some property, and another is looking to put a state-of-the-art manufacturing facility here.”
Doose said her focus is on Braddock, so she doesn’t have the aspirations for higher office that could benefit from being the mayor—but there are African Americans out there that do have those aspirations, and she thinks some might apply.
“I think there are some folks out there who might, but I’m waiting to see what the response is,” she said. “John had a unique narrative, that won’t happen again. But we may not need that any longer. Whoever we appoint will be someone capable of being the face and voice of the borough.”
Lee, newly elected to represent the state 34th legislative district, which includes Braddock, did not return calls for comment.
Davis, whose district adjoins Lee’s, said he thinks the mayor’s spot could be a great opportunity for a Black candidate.
“I’m pleased to see a transparent process—not the back-room ‘we’ve already got our guy’ thing,” he said. “I’m sure there are a number of young talented African Americans who could step up. We’re really taking the bull by the horns and getting involved. The Valley’s completely changing. and I’m excited to be part of it.”
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