Roebuck woos potential voters with coffee klatch

Posted: April 18, 2012 in The Philadelphia Tribune
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For more than 25 years, state Rep. James Roebuck has served West/Southwest Philadelphia’s 188th Legislative District with a specific focus on education, healthcare and senior care.He is currently being challenged for his seat by Fatimah Muhammad.

“I do a lot of things because it’s my job to help people,” said Roebuck during a coffee klatch hosted by the 51st Ward, 14th Division earlier this month.

Roebuck has maintained the same home telephone number for 27 years and continues to keep this number publicly listed.

“I was raised in West Philadelphia,” he said. “This is my home and I will continue to be available to the community.”

Last December, the House of Representatives dropped its plan to run a voucher bill, and a proposal to expand charter schools and the Education Improvement Tax Credit program was defeated with a vote of 105-90.

Roebuck gives credits to reputation, experience and relationships in this heavily debated voucher victory.

“To be successful in Harrisburg, you have to be effective with both parties,” he said. “For someone coming in as a freshman and thinking they will have similar leverage is highly unlikely.”

Roebuck ended last year fighting for education and began this year in a similar fashion. In January, House and Senate Democrats stood in solidarity with the parents and children of Chester Upland School District — and all 500 school districts in Pennsylvania — to urge Gov. Tom Corbett to make public education a top priority and to rescind his nearly $1 billion in cuts to public schools.

“A strong, competitive public education system is the cornerstone of a vibrant and thriving economy,” Roebuck said.

This year, he launched an online employment center, which provides a one-stop shop of information for those seeking employment opportunities in the Philadelphia region.

“My staff and I have been working on this initiative for several weeks, and I am pleased to help connect the people I represent to available jobs,” Roebuck said.

The site also includes resources that can help constituents prepare for the work force, and obtain information on job training and transportation services.

Roebuck is also providing a dedicated computer in his office, available by appointment for constituent use in job search and job preparation. Appointments can be made by calling his office.

“I want those who do not have Internet service to have access to all the information the Employment Center site provides,” Roebuck said.

Committee persons Thelma Peaks and Mark Friend attended the coffee klatch — both eager to learn more.

“After attending this gathering, I know how I plan to vote next week,” said Peaks, who was Roebuck’s 1996 opponent.

“As a committee person, I constantly hear concerns from the community,” Friend said. “I am glad I came out. I learned a lot today. After hearing my ward leader and others speak today, I feel good about Roebuck.”

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