Bobby Henon, Sixth District

Name: Bobby Henon
Age: 42 (January 11, 1969)
Residence: East Torresdale
Hometown:  Northeast Philadelphia
•    North Catholic High School
•    IBEW Local 98’s Apprentice Training Academy
Occupation: Political Director, IBEW Local 98
•    Jill, wife, 41
•    Zach, son, 9
•    Matt, son, 7
Career highlights:
•    Named to the Philadelphia Business Journal’s “40 Under 40” list (2004)
•    Recipient of the “Hero of Peace Award” presented by Veterans Against Drugs
•    Received the 2007 “Spirit of Life Award” presented by Joe Hand Boxing
Political experience:
•    Served as a Committeeman

Why did you get into politics?

“I’m running for City Council because I know I can make a difference. The 6th Councilmanic district and the entire city are in need of new energy and a new direction. Far too many of my neighbors are out of work and their families are hurting. Job creation will be my top priority. I’ve spent my entire professional career fighting for and securing work for people. I have the real world experience and political connections to make it happen. The city, state and federal government are all working to help pull the country out of this recession. There are funding streams, grants, and low-interest business loans that can be tapped to stimulate our local economy.

“You have to know who controls those dollars and have the personal relationships to secure the help – and I do. My second priority will be to increase public safety. I understand the connection between unemployment and crime. As the economy has struggled, the 6th District has seen an alarming increase in violent crime. I will work closely with Commissioner Ramsey, the FOP, and local civic groups to increase public safety, while working to create more jobs and job-training opportunities in the district. I’m raising my young family here. I know how good this community used to be – and can be again.  I look forward to the challenge.”

What would your most urgent legislative priority be in office?

“We have to overhaul our archaic and anti-business tax structure in the city, especially the Business Privilege Tax, which should be renamed the Business Burden Tax. Our object should be to invest in small businesses – give companies reason to want to put down stakes in the city and encourage their employees to live in the city, thereby increasing our tax base and lessening the burden on businesses and residents alike.”

What most needs improvement in your district or in the city at-large?

“The 6th District – like the entire city – needs more jobs. Another major issue for the district is absentee landlords. As with other pressing needs, I have a multipoint plan to combat absentee landlords:

1. Increase funding for L&I to investigate absentee landlord complaints.
2. Allow the city to change unpaid property fines to a security interest payment and add them to municipal tax bills.
3. Require a local contact person for all rental properties.
4. Charge an additional fee for landlords who do not live within Philadelphia or surrounding counties.
5. Improve local code enforcement to ensure Philadelphia properties are Philadelphia-owned.”

What do you love about Philadelphia?

“I was born here, I was raised here, I’m raising my family here and I never want to live anywhere else. Philadelphia is home. It is the smallest big city in America. There is a sense of history and civic pride here that is unmatched in the country. We reserve the right to criticize ourselves, but we will defend this place and its people against all criticism. Compared to most major American cities, our quality of life – affordability, ease of commuting, quality of schools, historical and natural attractions – is amazing.”

What Council practice or custom would you most like to change?

“City Council needs to be more open to the public. I do not like the semantics that are currently being played that gives Council flimsy justification for shutting out the press and the general public. Council representatives are elected to do the people’s business. The people have the right to know what their elected officials are discussing.”

Do you support term limits?

“Yes. A Council seat isn’t guaranteed for life, nor should it be. Government is best served by a constant influx of new people with new ideas and an abundance of energy.”

What is your position on DROP?

“I am strongly against the abuse of DROP by elected officials.”

Why should the voters entrust you with a Council seat?

“The voters should entrust me with a Council seat because I have spent my entire professional career helping others - whether it has been creating jobs for my members, helping worthwhile charities rebuild their facilities or raise money to fund critical services, or counseling elected officials on legislative priorities for Philadelphia’s working families. I feel I was born to public service. I am a smart, resourceful, independent thinker who will listen to the needs of my constituents and make the tough decisions that will move the 6th District forward. Most of all, I will not be outworked.”

What’s the most interesting non-political thing about you? What one thing would you like voters to know?

“Although I am a relatively young 42 years old, I have already survived a bout with a deadly disease. I have buried my father and two younger siblings. I am tough-minded, incredibly resilient and a great family man. And I am proud to be from the Northeast, for the Northeast. Forever."

Written responses from the candidates are posted verbatim. Profiles compiled following telephone interviews are sent to the candidates for verification of their accuracy. The non-partisan Committee of Seventy does not endorse or oppose any candidate and is providing this information as an educational public service. Seventy reserves the right to edit candidate responses for length, clarity, and style.

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