When Pittsburgh City Councilman Bill Peduto threw in his hat for the mayoral race, he decided against concurrently running for his council position. That left the door open for three contenders for the District 8 seat, including Peduto's nine-year chief of staff Dan Gilman, who opened his campaign last night.
Gilman held a kick-off fundraiser for his campaign at the Up Modern Kitchen in Shadyside Monday evening, gathering funds in preparation for a three-way Democratic primary election on May 21. Also running in the primary are Jeanne Clark of the environmental group PennFuture, and attorney Sam Hens-Greco.
Gilman said he knows both of his opponents personally and thinks of them as "great community activists."
"I think I have a unique story to tell, though, and that is around the work I've done for the last nine years, knowing what issues the district faces and who to call to get those issues resolved," said Gilman. "There's no learning curve when I start on day one, and that's a message I'm going to take to the street."
As chief of staff for Peduto since 2003, Gilman said he's been at almost every single community meeting in District 8 over the past nine years. "But on top of that, I come from an active, East End-involved family," said Gilman. "I grew up in the district, I was bar mitzvahed in the district, so I have a lot of personal to this area as well. It's not just a professional relationship."
Gilman said he wants to work with education and medical institutions to manage their integration into District 8 neighborhoods, which include Squirrel Hill, Shadyside, Point Breeze, and North Oakland.
District 8 was the only district in the city to gain population over the last decade, meaning it lost some territory to other districts in the reapportionment process last year, including Bloomfield and Friendship. If he wins, Gilman would continue a tradition of succession in the council district. Before his 2001 election, Peduto himself was chief of staff to Council Member Dan Cohen.