By Mary Ellen Alu
Allentown Mayor Ed Pawlowski, who said Sunday that he will run for Pennsylvania governor in 2014, will formally kick off his campaign Monday morning with an event in downtown Allentown.
"This is not a decision that was easily made, but as mayor of the third-largest city in the state and president of the Pennsylvania Municipal League, I have seen first hand the damage that has been done to our commonwealth over the past four years under the current administration," Pawlowski said in a release.
"I cannot sit idly by and let our state continue to suffer.”
Immediately after his announcement in Allentown, Pawlowski is planning a tour across the state that will carry him to 23 counties in nine days. After Allentown, Pawlowski plans to stop in Harrisburg and in front of City Hall in Philadelphia on Monday.
Pawlowski announced his candidacy on the Melissa Harris-Perry show on MSNBC.
Pawlowski also is currently running for a third term as mayor. He has secured both the Democratic and Republican nominations for the November election.
"As mayor I will continue to give my heart and soul to serve our city to the best of my ability," he said. "But the challenges facing Pennsylvania, like proper funding for education and rebuilding our infrastructure, demand an experienced leader in Harrisburg who has the proven know-how to get results."
In the release, Pawlowski touts his record as mayor, saying Allentown has reversed an $8 million budget deficit, added 80 officers to its police force and reduced crime almost 30 percent. He says he has worked with local, state and federal officials across party lines in the downtown's revitalization efforts.
Pawlowski has a master’s degree in urban planning and public policy from the University of Illinois. He began his career as a community organizer on Chicago’s southwest side and became executive director of Windows of Opportunity, a non-profit subsidiary of the Chicago Housing Authority.
In 1996 he became executive director of Lehigh Housing Development Corp., which under his leadership became a regional community development corporation now known as Alliance for Building Communities.
He was recruited to work for Allentown as the director of community and economic development before becoming Allentown mayor in January 2006.
Pawlowski and his wife, Lisa, a community activist and licensed social worker, live in Center City Allentown. They have two children, Mercy and Alex, who attend Allentown public schools.