With a focus on transforming the city of Pittsburgh, City Councilman Bill Peduto officially launched his campaign for mayor last night.
“The transformation has to be something where city government reflects all the other things that are changing, all the positive things that are happening,” said Peduto. “It needs somebody who not only can respect and understand the past that has more than just a vision of the future but an understanding of how it can happen.”
Peduto said he has been making positive change happen in the 8th district for the last 18 years and he is now ready to do it for the entire city.
“Its the only part of the city that is growing… we’ve grown by ten percent while the rest of the city lost ten percent of its population,” said Peduto who notes that the progress needs to start at the in the community development organizations.
“It’s not about a developer coming in and promising to build a drug store in a neighborhood, its about the most important capital in each of the neighborhoods, which is the people.”
Peduto has served in the council for three terms and was the chief of staff for Councilman Dan Cohen for six years before that.
This is Peduto’s third shot at the mayor’s office. In 2005 he came in second place behind Bob O’Connor in the primary and in 2007 he pulled the plug on his campaign two months before voters went to the polls.
“The overwhelming sentiment [in 2007] was ‘give the kid (Luke Ravenstahl) a chance.’ Well he’s had a chance and now people are looking for a different path and a different leader,” said Peduto.
Unlike in his past mayoral runs, the long-time District 8 councilman has decided not to run simultaneously for council. Peduto said it is time for him to move on from city council.
The 48-year-old Peduto has already picked up the support of County Executive Rich Fitzgerald who pumped up the crowd at Thursday’s campaign launch in the Crucible Building in the Strip District. More endorsements are expected in the coming weeks.
Peduto said he hopes the 2013 race will pit him against the mayor without a third candidate. However, an announcement from City Controller Michael Lamb that he will be running for the same office is expected in the coming weeks. Lamb has also run for mayor unsuccessfully in the past but feels this year will be different.
“We’re organizing and getting things together,” said Lamb. “This time of year I thinks that’s what you do to get ready for a race next year.”
Lamb said he expects to make an announcement after the holidays but has already hired two campaign workers. Anne Batchelder will serve as Campaign Manager, and Sadie Sterner-Restivo will serve as Finance Director. Batchelder has organizing experience after working as Deputy Field Director in southwestern Pennsylvania for the last two Obama campaigns and Sterner-Restivo ran State Attorney General-Elect Kathleen Kane’s successful primary campaign.
“It will involve significant mass media so it’s going to be an expensive campaign but I feel confident in what we have done so far, that we will have the money necessary to mount a strong and credible campaign,” said Lamb.
Mayor Ravenstahl has not held an official campaign event but has made it clear that he is planning a run for a second full term.