Election Guide: Allegheny County Council District At-Large | Election Guide | Pittsburgh | Pittsburgh City Paper

Election Guide: Allegheny County Council District At-Large

This is a countywide election for a Democratic spot on the 15-member Allegheny County Council. This body handles county legislation concerning civil rights, infrastructure, environmental health, taxes, and more. 

John DeFazio

Bio: President of Allegheny County Council. Has served on council as a Democrat since 2000. A retired pro wrestler known as Jumping Johnny, also worked as a union leader who “always fought for fair wages and benefits.”

Natural Gas Drilling: Supported two proposals, now enacted, to allow drilling on county-owned land at the airport and Deer Lakes Park. Says he would look at any future proposals on a case-by-case basis. Says drilling at airport and Deer Lakes provided beneficial monetary resources to those places. 

Criminal Justice Reform: Says County Council’s most impactful rule is budgetary, and that identifying and funding resource needs is critical to reform. Supports initiatives of Allegheny County’s Criminal Justice Advisory Board and the University of Pittsburgh’s Institute of Politics.

Taxing Large Nonprofits: Supports negotiating with large nonprofits to secure community benefits, instead of more forceful measures that could result in a tax-funded court battle.

Endorsements: Allegheny County Democratic Committee, Allegheny-Fayette County Central Labor Council, United Steelworkers, Allegheny County Executive Rich Fitzgerald, State Senator Wayne Fontana, several local labor unions including IBEW Local 5, Steamfitters Local 449, and Fire Fighters Local 1

Bethany Hallam

Bio: Ross Township native serving on the local Democratic committee. Following an athletic injury, she became addicted to prescription opioids and spent time in the county jail. Says that experience helped her understand Allegheny County’s problems. Her campaign pressured county council to introduce an LGBTQ conversion therapy ban, which councilors did in March.

Natural Gas Drilling: Wants natural-gas drilling (fracking), phased out of Allegheny County, especially in public parks. Says “it endangers our health, threatens our water table.” Wants to invest in green energy jobs for the county, but didn’t say if fracking revenue would fund those proposals.

Criminal Justice Reform: Supports Black Lives Matter movement and says county council needs to make protecting Black lives a priority. Supports a countywide civilian police review board and a public database of police violations and firings across departments. Also backs state Rep. Summer Lee’s police use of force legislation.

Taxing Large Nonprofits: Strongly supports stripping UPMC of its tax-exempt nonprofit status. Says “when a ‘nonprofit’ is acting maliciously, as UPMC has done by holding our healthcare hostage in order to increase its profits, we must legislate action.”

Endorsements: The Sierra Club, 14th Ward Independent Democratic Club, Pennsylvania Young Democrats, Our Revolution Pennsylvania, Women for the Future of Pittsburgh, Steel City Stonewall Democrats, State Reps. Ed Gainey, Summer Lee, and Sara Innamorato

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