A 2005 Muhlenberg alum, Mike is actually a product of Livingston, New Jersey. Like six of Allentown's seven council members, he's a Democrat. His prior political experience includes managing Michele Varricchio's successful campaign for Lehigh County judge. He was also involved in Jennifer Mann's recent re-election as state rep. He is a member of the Lehigh County Executive Democratic Committee.
Just 25 year old, Mike is quite energetic. He helps Tony Iannelli produce Business Matters, the most provocative and entertaining local issues program in the Lehigh Valley. He also publishes Lehigh Valley Main Streets, a blog dedicated to revitalization of LV Main Streets. His stories there are regularly featured in The Morning Call's Valley Blogosphere. He has even helped his boss start a new blog for the Chamber of Commerce.
Allentown seven-person City Council will have four seats up in next year's election, when the terms of President Mike D’Amore, VP Tony Phillips, Julio A. Guridy and David M. Howells are set to expire. Council's sole Republican, Tony Phillips, plans on challenging Mayor Pawlowski, so I presume his seat will be open. The rest are expected to seek reelection.
I've already sent Mike a host of questions about different Allentown issues.
At the Sunday rally, Hopkins also mentioned Allentown realtor Gail Hoover as a possible contender, and told everyone to encourage her. But that's just cRaZy.
In her last stint on council, Hoover excelled at ethics violations. When cited for double-parking as the result of some new "get tough" policy, she made sure the practice ended that day. She was sanctioned a $1,000 fine by the state ethics commission after she traipsed off to San Francisco for a three-day real estate seminar, failed to file her 2001 statement of financial interest ("I forgot") and failed to include the cost of that seminar, which was waived, as a gift.
Are any Republicans running? Mike Welsh's impressive state house campaign was based on Allentown's rampant crime, so he may be considering a run, but I don't know that. There is another eminently qualified candidate, but that news will have to wait.