US Rep. Mary Gay Scanlon, D-5, of Swarthmore faces the first challenge on May 17
In this primary, US Rep. Mary Gay Scanlon, D-5 of Swarthmore, faces opposition from Lou Lanni Jr. of Folcroft.
Scanlon, who was elected to office during a special election in November 2018, is seeking re-election to a two-year term with a Democratic challenge from the former Philadelphia police officer and real estate agent.
The 5th US congressional district includes all of Delaware County, part of South and Southwest Philadelphia, and part of Montgomery County.
Lanni did not respond to multiple attempts to reach him.
However, PR Newswire reported that he said, “This campaign is about moving our community in a better direction. I look forward to continuing to speak to many residents, business owners, and community leaders about the legislative priorities of the future, and I will focus on moving our district forward with jobs, more opportunities, and much-needed resources that we just don’t get for ours current representative.”
Scanlon, an attorney, responded, giving her reasons for her re-election and what she hopes to achieve.
“Together we have accomplished much during this time of extraordinary constitutional, health, social and economic challenges,” she said. “Nevertheless, there is still a lot to do.”
The congresswoman outlined some accomplishments during her tenure.
“During my three-and-a-half-year tenure, we brought Philly Shipyard back to life with a billion-dollar federal investment,” she said. “We have secured resources for staff development and apprenticeship programs at Navy Yard, community colleges and trade schools, research institutions and beyond.
“We secured new contracts for the Boeing Ridley facility, reduced child poverty and hunger in our region, supported communities through a devastating pandemic, made generational investments in our region’s aging infrastructure and environment, increased support for legal aid and victim services, and built our economy bouncing back from the depths of the COVID downturn faster than any other developed nation,” Scanlon said.
She also spoke of the rewards of the daily work her office does to help the residents of the district.
“I’m also very proud of our work directly helping individual voters through casework,” Scanlon said. “We’ve helped PA-5 residents access millions of dollars in Veterans Affairs, Social Security and other benefits they deserve. We’ve helped small businesses get support grants and taxpayers are getting every penny of their refunds.”
The congresswoman addressed what continues to require attention.
“As we emerge from a global pandemic, we must face the severe economic and social challenges it has created and exacerbated in our country,” she said. “We must make long-term investments in childcare, education, the environment and community policing programs that can keep every member of our community safe and secure.
“We must continue to create good-paying jobs and grow our economy to work for everyone, not just the rich,” she continued. “And we must confront the new threats posed by Putin’s unlawful attack on Ukraine and the aggression of other anti-democratic regimes.”
The representative shared what prompted her to stand for re-election.
“We must protect our democratic republic from ongoing attacks by right-wing extremists and political opportunists,” Scanlon said. “These forces try to divide us with culture wars and conspiracy theories instead of looking for common ground and community. We must protect our most important freedom – the ability to make our voices count – and rebuild the guard rails that protect our Constitution.
“These fundamental threats to our country were powerful motivators in my decision to run for Congress,” she said. “I have three children who are now beginning to find their place in the world. Her future prompted me to run for school board (Wallingford-Swarthmore) knowing how important education was to her success and the success of every child in our country.
“I understand that today’s global inflation and rising healthcare costs threaten their future,” she said. “We must confront the crime epidemic in our region, something I faced this winter.”
Last December, Scanlon was kidnapped after touring FDR Park in South Philadelphia with her team and other officers to discuss renovations. The tour was over and she was talking to a member of her team at her 2017 Acura MDX when a dark-colored SUV pulled up.
Two young men got out of the vehicle and one pointed a gun to her chest and demanded the car keys. Then they got into the MDX and drove away.
Josiah Brown, 19, of Wilmington, Delaware, has been charged federally with carjacking and using a firearm in connection with a violent crime. A 14-year-old woman and three men, aged 13, 15 and 16, have also been charged with theft.
“As I have done throughout my career as a public interest advocate and community volunteer, I want to work with anyone who is willing to work on solutions to these challenges because I know that finger pointing is not enough,” added Scanlon added.
The rep said she has worked across the aisle, sponsoring and passing bipartisan bills to create jobs in the area, support families affected by the opioid epidemic and expand benefits for veterans who are exposed to toxic substances.
“We must elect leaders who offer solutions instead of sowing chaos and fear,” she said. “We need leaders who stand up for gay children’s rights instead of fighting with Disney. Leaders who work to reform our broken immigration system instead of demonizing those who are legitimately seeking freedom in our country.
“And we need leaders working to bring costs down for all Americans, rather than giving tax breaks to corporations and the ultra-rich,” Scanlon continued. “We have big problems to deal with, but now is not the time to get discouraged or give up. For that reason, I want to continue to represent the people of Delaware, Montgomery and Philadelphia counties and ask for the support of the people of PA-5.”
Scanlon is a member of the US House Judiciary Committee and the US House Rules Committee and Vice Chairman of the US House Administration Committee. She also ministers in nearly 70 House meetings.
Prior to joining Congress, she was a pro bono attorney at Ballard Spahr, where she oversaw more than 600 attorneys in 15 offices providing more than 50,000 hours of complimentary legal advice to low-income clients and nonprofits.
She was also a member of the Wallingford-Swarthmore School Board from 2007 to 2015.
A graduate of George Washington High School in Northeast Philadelphia, Lanni served in the Philadelphia Police Department for eleven years, including a patrol duty in the 35th Precinct.
After leaving the police force in 1992 for medical reasons, he moved to Folcroft and pursued a real estate career.
Its platform includes providing more resources for education, supporting women’s right to vote, empowering the LGBTQ community, supporting clean energy, and supporting universal background checks.
The winner of the Democrats’ May 17 nomination will face Republican Dave Galluch, a former member of the Navy’s elite Explosive Ordnance Disposal from Newtown Square, in November. Galluch is the only candidate on the GOP ballot for this race.