NEWS - Welch launches mayoral campaign

Welch launches mayoral campaign

January 22, 2017 12:00 AM

By Chris Potter / Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Introduced with gospel music and testimonials from fellow clergymen, the Rev. John C. Welch launched his mayoral campaign Saturday afternoon at the Homewood Carnegie Library’s auditorium.

“This city is in pain, and the pain is great,” he told a near-capacity crowd. “The fact that we were twice awarded the most livable city in America only makes the pain more intense.”

Pledging a “people’s campaign” to help “those who cannot afford to pay $2,000 a month for an apartment,” Rev. Welch decried development patterns that crowd out some residents, while ignoring other communities entirely.

”It's not fair when East Liberty can look like Monaco, and Beltzhoover looks like Monaca,” he said.

Rev. Welch offered an expansive vision for his effort. “We need a movement for Jordan Miles and Leon Ford,” he said, naming two African-Americans who’d been involved in controversial police encounters. But Rev. Welch, who has been a city police chaplain, added, “We need a movement for Officers Mayhle, Kelly, and Sciullo” — referring to three policemen killed in 2009 by Stanton Heights shooter Richard Poplawski.

Rev. Welch barely mentioned incumbent Mayor Bill Peduto, and his 20-minute speech offered no policy proposals. Rev. Welch said afterwards that policies would be “rolled out as the campaign goes on.”

Supporters included many who had known Rev. Welch for years.

“John’s a good man with compassion and love for the people of the city,” said Homewood resident Randall Taylor, a former city school board member.

Also supporting Rev. Welch was Pastor Ken Love, an activist minister who supported Mr. Peduto in 2013. “I don’t have a bad thing to say about Bill,” said Rev. Love. But he said too little was being done to support working-class residents. “We need to take this city to the next level.”

Chris Potter: or 412-263-2533.



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