Opinion: Washington needs to go

So there’s an election coming up. May 20, to be precise. If you live in Pennsylvania’s 4th Senatorial District, encompassing most of Northwest Philadelphia and Southeast Montgomery County, then you should probably pay attention.

Leanna Washington, your State Senator since 2005, is running for re-election and trust me, you do not want her representing you. Since assuming office she has missed one-third of voting sessions – even the ones on bills that she has supported vocally. If that were not enough, she is scheduled for an arraignment this month to address charges against her that she used her legislative staff to organize her annual birthday fundraiser while on taxpayer time.

Washington certainly is not spending her time in office doing the things her district would want her to, like voting. But this doesn’t seem to bother her, as she allegedly expressed to a former aide, “I am the f***ing senator, I do what the f*** I want, and ain’t nobody going to change me.”

No, Senator Washington, you do what we, the people whom you represent, want. And while we can’t change you, we sure can replace you.

Running against Washington are two seemingly qualified candidates: Art Haywood, a Cheltenham Township commissioner, and Brian Gralnick, a leader at the local Jewish Federation. Honestly, either one would be a step up from Washington, but there are some significant differences between them. Gralick is much younger than Haywood but is far from inexperienced. Since graduating from Penn he has mostly worked in community service, helping the elderly in Northwest Philadelphia as well as across the state.

Haywood’s accomplishments are harder to define. He’s worked as a solo practitioner representing non-profits and he seems to have done a lot of good things, but Gralnick appears to have the upper hand concerning accomplishments one could actually credit to one person. While they are both solidly liberal and would make fine senators for this district, Gralnick’s community service sways me to support him over Haywood.