Pennsylvania State House District 19: Aerion Abney and Glenn Grayson | Election Guide | Pittsburgh | Pittsburgh City Paper

Pennsylvania State House District 19: Aerion Abney and Glenn Grayson

click to enlarge Aerion Abney and Glenn Grayson - CP ILLUSTRATION: LUCY CHEN
CP Illustration: Lucy Chen
Aerion Abney and Glenn Grayson
The 19th district covers neighborhoods in Pittsburgh’s North, South, and East Sides, including Downtown, parts of the Hill District, Hazelwood, parts of the South Side, Allentown, and Beltzhoover, Central North Side, Manchester, and North Shore. It is currently represented by incumbent Aerion Abney, who won the April 5 special election to serve remaining term of former Rep. Jake Wheatley after he stepped down to become Mayor Gainey’s chief of staff.

Aerion Abney

Bio: Incumbent candidate. Lives in Manchester. Graduated from the University of Pittsburgh. Previous committeeperson for the 21st Ward, Fourth District. Worked as a voting rights advocate, grantmaker, and legislative assistant in this district for Rep. Jake Wheatley. Sits on boards of several organizations working to improve life for Black Pittsburghers.

Cash Bail: Against cash bail. Told CP, “The money aspect should not be a burden for somebody being held in jail for two weeks just waiting to have their trial.”

Gun Violence: Told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, “Ultimately, big picture, we just have to get these guns off the streets and out of the hands of kids. I’m really ready to take a long-term approach to the work and fix some of what is broken in some of our communities.” Website says he will strengthen gun laws.


Development: Told Trib Live he aims to combat gentrification. Expressed concern to CP about uneven neighborhood development. Said he has “anti-displacement strategies,” like requiring that residents who must move from buildings for redevelopment or demolition are resettled before construction and tax abatement to keep current residents from being priced-out. “I want to have development without displacement.”

Endorsements: Allegheny County Democratic Committee

Glenn Grayson

Bio: Pastor. Currently leading Wesley Center A.M.E. Zion Church. Founder and executive director of Center that CARES, a community center for kids in Hill District. Former president of the PIIN (Pennsylvania Interfaith Impact Network). Sits on the boards of several organizations working to improve life for Black Pittsburghers.

Cash Bail: Served on county progress panel on criminal justice reform that recommended decreased use of cash bail through more consistent use of a pretrial risk-assessment algorithm.


Gun Violence: Lost 18-year-old son to gun violence in 2010. Told Trib Live he would advocate for violence prevention and to curb gun violence. Under CARES, offers anti-violence programs and academic support for young people. Twice honored by former President Barack Obama for his violence prevention work.

Development: Told Trib Live he would work to revitalize local neighborhoods without gentrifying them. Wrote in a 2013 Post-Gazette op-ed in support of “re-directing gentrification into healthier, mixed-income housing models.”

Endorsements: None found

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