John Fetterman at the Carrie Furnaces, a former steel mill near Braddock, Pennsylvania, that’s now open for tours. Marketing the history of the steel culture to strangers comes within the framework of the former mayor’s plan to revive the area.
Michael S. Williamson/ The Washington Post via Getty Images
John Fetterman, the former mayor of Braddock, was elected lieutenant governor of Pennsylvania in 2018, vanquishing out better funded foes. Fetterman has taken an oft-overlooked post and shaped it his bully pulpit, utilizing the role to preach for criminal justice reform, including the legalization of marijuanas. In an interview with Business Insider, he discussed the outgoing president’s allegations of voter fraud, saying the only two he’s been able to find are cases of people who voted for Trump. “The fact that they both happen to be Trump voters is funny, but it’s immaterial because it have proved that, one, how rare it is, but also how hard it is to commit voter impostor, ” he said. He is often discussed as a selected candidates for governor or American senate, with elections for both taking place in 2022. He says he’s undecided on his next steps. “I truthfully don’t know, ” he “ve been told”, “but tell your friends in Philadelphia that Sheetz is much better than Wawa and that the Steelers are much better than the Eagles.” Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.
John Fetterman, the former mayor of Braddock, was elected lieutenant governor of Pennsylvania in 2018, thumping out better-funded opponents.
He is not a democratic socialist, although he was a big supporter of Sen. Bernie Sanders, and he doesn’t even like the label of “progressive.” John Fetterman, Pennsylvania’s Democratic lieutenant governor who lives in a remodeled Chevy dealership, belief his politics can best be described as honesty — integrity about the world in which billionaires receive taxation gashes while working-class wages stagnate.
“If you’re willing to is our opinion that $7.25 pennies an hour is an appropriate or fair minimum wages, then you’re a storyteller. It’s outrageous. It’s despicable, ” Fetterman said in an interview with Business Insider, referring to a federal minimum wages that hasn’t been raised since the last recession in 2009. “It condemns people to “peoples lives” below poverty-line subsistence. It’s deeply un-American. It’s profoundly unfair.”
“That’s not ‘progressive, ‘” Fetterman maintained. “That’s the f—ing truth.”
There are several reasons why Fetterman is probably the first lieutenant governor of Pennsylvania that anyone outside the nation could recognize. For one, he is physically hard to miss, stands at 6’8″. He has also employed the oft-anonymous position as a bully pulpit, typified by his display two pennants outside its term of office in the country capitol of Harrisburg promoting two causes that are crucial to him: LGBTQ+ rights and marijuana, which he would have like to have legalized yesterday.( The state’s Republican legislature, peeved by the display, recently voted to have the flags removed .)
He takes his official duties severely. If something were to happen to Gov. Tom Wolf, a fellow Democrat, he would be the man in charge. And as chairman of Pennsylvania’s Board of Pardons, he has also has the ability to influence whether a person should be judged by the worst thing they ever did or given another chance at life.
“This idea that you can’t ever achieve forgiveness or redemption I think is flawed, ” Fetterman said. With the exception of truly heinous crimes, “you should be able to work your mode back.”
He pointed to the case of Corry Sanders, who in 2016 won a seat on the city council of McKeesport, Pennsylvania, about a half-hour outside Pittsburgh. Though he was democratically elected by his peers, “he was denied[ his seat] because he had a drug conviction from 25 years ago. And that’s outrageous. That’s crazy.”
Last year, Fetterman, who championed Sanders’ case before taking office in 2018, and every other member of the state’s parole board voted to pardon him for that crime. “That’s what I’m talking about: this idea that people are not the sum total of one bad decision, ” he said. “I think that’s what needs to be inculcated more deeply in our criminal justice conversation.”
A huge art piece featuring neon to simulate a steel pour( the building is next to the Edgar Thompson steel mill) glows on the side the the age-old Superior Motors Building in Braddock, Pennsylvania. The build now houses the Superior Motor restaurant, a playhouse and the residence of former Mayor John Fetterman.
Michael S. Williamson/ The Washington Post via Getty Images
Criminal justice and police reform are why the 51 -year-old Fetterman, a alumnu of Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government who served in Pittsburgh as a member of AmeriCorps, started from being largely apolitical, if not unconscientious, to the mayor of Braddock. In 2005, he won the election by a single poll, going on to lead the majority-Black town of some 2,000 people in Allegheny County for the next 12 times. He worked, in particular, on gun violence and police inhumanity, gaining national attention for his efforts to attract creatives to a city that, like others in Pennsylvania, has been economically distressed ever since the collapse of the steel industry.
That’s how Fetterman, who has tattoos recognizing each date there was a homicide in Braddock during his mayorship, satisfied his wife and Pennsylvania’s second lady, Gisele. A formerly undocumented immigrant from Brazil who grew up in New York City, she read an article about Fetterman’s efforts to revitalize the town, which produced some of the sword used in the Brooklyn Bridge, and decided to check it out herself.
“At the time I was working out of Newark on meat justice and access issues. I arrived and @JohnFetterman tumble MADLY in love with me, ” she recently posted on Twitter.
–Gisele Barreto Fetterman (@ giselefetterman) November 24, 2020
In October, the mother of three had something far less heart-warming to share on social media. While out browse for groceries in her brand-new hometown, the status of women in the parking lots harangued her, calling her “the n-word that Lt. Gov. John Fetterman married, ” per CNN.
“Even though I’m 38, and I’m second lady, and I have a family and career, I was immediately again a scared 9-year-old undocumented little girl at that grocery path, ” she told the network.
Her experience, as an immigrant who has evidenced xenophobia in the land of opportunity, has informed her husband’s politics. In a seam op-ed wrote earlier in 2020, the second couple discussed migration as matters of both morality and justice. “[ W] e understand our current immigration system, especially under this administration, as part of America’s historic legacy of criminalizing Black, brown, and indigenous bodies for reasons that are arbitrary and capricious at best, and fueled by fear and dislike at worst.”
Fetterman has been in the national spotlight more recently not because of his work on criminal justice or his tenure in Braddock, however, but because of President Donald Trump’s baseless allegations of widespread voter fraud in the state, which “hes lost” by more than 80,000 votes. On MSNBC earlier this month, Fetterman described Trump as simply “one more Internet troll, ” albeit one with the nuclear codes and a squad of lawyers willing to submit exalted versions of his tweets as lawsuits.
John Fetterman speaks with advocates during a campaign stop at the Interstate Drafthouse in Philadelphia during his 2016 run for the Democratic Party’s nomination for US Senate.
Bill Clark/ CQ Roll Call
Those lawsuits are “an insult to litigation and lawyers everywhere, ” Fetterman said. “As soon as they were heard, they were shut down, dismissed, even ridiculed.”
Is it a joke, though, when the incumbent president of the United Commonwealth and leading members of his party seek to delegitimize a democratic outcome of an election?
“I don’t think there’s going to be any lasting harm, ” Fetterman said. He considers Trump’s supporters will eventually accept the results. “I’m not saying we’re all gonna come together, but there isn’t one person that genuinely believes Hugo Chavez — who I remember died in 2013 — was part of a plot to steal the 2020 Pennsylvania election, ” he said, is a reference to a harebrained conjecture promoted by one-time Trump solicitor Sidney Powell. “No one believes that.”
Like the outgoing chairman, Fetterman is an avid customer of Twitter; he started posting again about two minutes after finishing this interview. But he is far more likely to post a GIF from “The Simpsons” than an all-caps, late-night rant. And instead of internet bullying, he likes to lightheartedly mock his political opponents. When his Texas counterpart offered a$ 1 million reward for evidence of voter fraud, Fetterman eagerly took him on the offering, quoting the two cases known to exist in Pennsylvania, both involving Trump voters.
–John Fetterman (@ JohnFetterman) November 23, 2020
“My dude owes me$ two million, ” Fetterman said. “The fact that they both happen to be Trump voters is funny, but it’s immaterial because it demonstrates that, one, how rare it is, but also how hard it is to commit voter fraud.”
“It’s so funny, it’s sad that this guy put under a national call to pay for[ evidence of] voter hoax, ” he added. “You know, let me see it. He hasn’t paid a dime.”
It’s not all trolling of the other side, though. In 2018, during his run for lieutenant governor, Fetterman campaigned on think, and reminding other politicians, what life is like in Pennsylvania’s “forgotten cities” — ones that in many cases tilted Trump the past two elections after previously being white working-class strongholds for the Democrats.
“If we’re going to reverse the riches of not only our party but, most importantly, communities and regions,[ it is necessary to] reinvesting and admitting that these regions is in favour of championed, ” Fetterman said. He doesn’t consider most Trump voters, or at least not all, are a lost cause.
“There’s certainly unreachable people, ” he said. The thing, he belief, is that Trump is actually an effective demagogue. “I think it’s people is responding to a level of authenticity or rawness, ” he said. “You’re not going to convince me that Pennsylvania changed radically from Barack Obama, ” who twice won the state, “to Donald Trump.”
John Fetterman strikes up a exchange at a diner in the depressed steel town of Clairton, Pennsylvania.
Michael S. Williamson/ The Washington Post via Getty Images
Enough voters switched to Biden to turn the government blue once more. But Trump, he considers, is not going to go gently into that good night.
“He’s gonna pas, 100% he’s going to run, ” Fetterman said. “He is going to start running the minute he leaves the White House and he is untethered from, you know, whatever responsibilities of the presidency, ” he said. “The idea that he is going to learn how to paint or[ start] a philanthropic endeavor or whatever — it’s like , no.”
Before 2024, however, is 2022: that’s when Pennsylvania will have an open US Senate seat up for grabs, vacated by Republican Pat Toomey. Fetterman, in 2016, searched the Democratic nomination to run against Toomey. Is he still eyeing the seat today — or might he look to succeed Gov. Wolf, who will be term-limited the same year?
“I truthfully don’t know, ” he said, “but tell your friends in Philadelphia that Sheetz is much better than Wawa and that the Steelers are much better than the Eagles.”
Fetterman, nonetheless, soon followed his inflammatory commentaries with the diplomacy he would need to win votes in the state’s southeastern quadrant if he ran for statewide office.
“I love Gritty, ” he said of the Philadelphia Flyers’ unexpectedly viral mascot. “How could you not desire Gritty? I adore cheesesteaks and genuinely desire Philadelphia.”
Knocking the southeast’s convenience stores is just good fun, he maintains — the kinds of thing, unlike politics, where one can get in a heated debate that does not point in a fistfight( typically ).
Though a native of York, in central Pennsylvania, “I’m a Western PA guy, ” Fetterman said, “and I emphatically love to make fun of the Steelers being undefeated whereas the Eagles, I’ll just say, are not. I’ll just leave it at that. They are not undefeated.”
Have a report gratuity? Email this reporter, a one-time Philadelphian and Wawa evangelist: cdavis @insider. com
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