|This article needs additional citations for verification. (November 2013)|
|41st Mayor of Allentown|
January 3, 2006
|Preceded by||Roy Afflerbach|
|Born||1965 (age 47–48)
Chicago, Illinois, U.S.
|Alma mater||Moody Bible Institute
University of Illinois, Urbana-
Ed Pawlowski is the Two-Term Mayor of Allentown in Lehigh County, Pennsylvania, United States. He has held this position since January 2006.
Pawlowski announced his candidacy for Governor of Pennsylvania in 2014 on September 8, 2013, on the Melissa Harris-Perry Show on MSNBC.
- 1 Early Life & Education
- 2 Personal life
- 3 Early Career & First Mayoral Election
- 4 Allentown Platform and Success
- 5 Third Term Re-Election Campaign
- 6 President of the Pennsylvania Municipal League
- 7 Candidate for Governor, 2014
- 8 See also
- 9 References
- 10 External links
Early Life & Education
Ed Pawlowski was born to small business owners in Chicago. The family owned and operated a popular Polish restaurant on the City's North Side. Pawlowski attended public school in Chicago, where he earned his High School Diploma in 1983. Following his high school graduation, he enrolled at Moody Bible Institute, in Chicago, IL, where he received his Bachelor's degree.
Pawlowski has been married for 25 years to Lisa, a community activist and licensed social worker in Allentown, who he met at Moody. They have two children, Mercy and Alex, both of whom attend Allentown public schools.
Early Career & First Mayoral Election
After his years at MBI, Pawlowski then worked as a Community Organizer in Chicago's Southwest Side, focusing on helping residents find quality, affordable housing and improving their quality of life.
Pawlowski then enrolled at the University of Illinois to pursue his Master’s Degree in Urban Planning and Public Policy. He was then hired to be the Executive Director of Windows of Opportunity, the non-profit subsidiary of the Chicago Housing Authority, where he supervised the development of special programs and self-sufficiency projects designed to help Chicago’s public housing residents, which at the time numbered more than 100,000.
In 1996 he became Executive Director of Lehigh Housing Development Corporation, which under his leadership expanded to six counties and over 50 employees, becoming a regional community development corporation now known as Alliance for Building Communities.
Due to his success in reviving and strengthening this organization, he was recruited to the post of Director of Community and Economic Development for the City of Allentown by then-mayor Roy Afflerbach. Pawlowski was then recruited to challenge Afflerbach for Mayor by dozens of community activists and business leaders who believed the City was headed in the wrong direction.
Pawlowski was elected to his first term as Mayor in 2005 by an overwhelming majority of the voters. Pawlowski was the first candidate for Mayor to win every precinct in a competitive election—a distinction he maintained through his 2009 re-election bid.
Since his first day in office, Mayor Pawlowski has delivered on his promise to “Build a better Allentown” by making City Hall a catalyst for change. He streamlined operations in City Hall, while increasing services to the residents of Allentown. Under his leadership, crime in the City of Allentown is down over 30 percent. His efforts to market Allentown have produced more than 75 million dollars in state and federal grants to rebuild city parks, develop new downtown businesses, and improve the quality of life for families in Allentown.
Mayor Pawlowski’s Administration has been heralded as a model for fiscal excellence, having transformed an $8 million deficit inherited from the previous administration into a $14-million dollar cash reserve that helped Allentown to weather the Great Recession. As a result of visionary planning, a reduction in the size of government and a wise use of tax payer dollars, Allentown residents are enjoying what few other cities in the United States are seeing: their ninth consecutive year without a property tax increase.
Mayor Pawlowski is also credited (along with Sen. Pat Browne) with the creation and implementation of the Neighborhood Improvement Zone (NIZ), which has brought more than a billion dollars in new investment into the City of Allentown while creating nearly five thousand new jobs for Allentown residents. This innovative model of urban revitalization is now being copied throughout the state.
Allentown Platform and Success
When Ed Pawlowski became Mayor of Allentown in January 2006, crime was at a five-year-high in every single category, far above the state average. Since then, he has transformed Allentown into a safer city and decreased crime year after year by directing the installation of assisting a high-tech security network, tackling quality of life issues, and providing safer streets and neighborhoods to the third largest city in Pennsylvania.Mayor Pawlowski rebuilt the police force by hiring 80 additional police officers since taking office and working with police to focus on cleaning up crime hot spots. Last year alone, he secured funding to hire an additional 20 officers and worked with the Police Department to launch tip411, an Internet-based tool that enables the public to text message anonymous tips to police.
Pawlowski was instrumental in the creation of Allentown's state-of-the-art High-Tech Security Network by securing state and federal grants to purchase more than 120 cameras to watch city streets—all focused on identifying and quelling crime hot spots. As a result, Allentown's crime rate has decreased for six consecutive years, according to the FBI and State Police. During this period, overall crime has decreased by nearly 30 percent and violent crime has decreased 20%.
Strong Fiscal Management
As Mayor, Pawlowski provided strong fiscal management to a city that was drowning in red ink, facing an $8 million deficit when he took office. He streamlined government spending, decreased the city’s debt, and recently implemented a revolutionary, long-term solution to the city’s unfunded pension liability debt. Thanks to these reforms, Allentown has been heralded as a model for urban transformation and revitalization, receiving accolades from the Wall Street Journal, 10,000 Friends, and the Pennsylvania Municipal League.
Pawlowski transformed the inherited deficit into a $14-million-dollar cash reserve that helped Allentown weather the nation’s worst economic downturn since The Great Depression. He converted traffic signals to LED technology, reducing electrical consumption and saving more than $120,000 annually. He reduced Allentown’s vehicle fleet and consolidated EMS billing services to create a more efficient department.
In addition, he addressed major issues such as health care costs and massively rising pension obligations, further decreasing the City debt, and in 2010 the City had the lowest overall debt level in 10 years. In 2013, the Mayor avoided a potential tax increase by offering an innovative solution to a devastating City pension fund crisis, which has put the City on a solid fiscal path for decades to come. To reduce labor costs, Mayor Pawlowski initiated negotiations with two of Allentown’s largest public employee unions, the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) and Fraternal Order of Police (FOP), and crafted fair and responsible labor concession agreements. Through these agreements, the Mayor was able to save Allentown taxpayers more than $15 million over the next five years while protecting the jobs of City employees.
Mayor Pawlowski has brought more than a billion dollars in new investment and nearly five thousand of new jobs to the City of Allentown since taking office in 2006. He attracted new development to all areas of the city, redeveloped abandoned properties, and spearheaded the effort for an ambitious downtown revitalization project that will bring an 8,500-seat multi-purpose arena and the former Philadelphia Phantoms hockey team to Allentown.
Working with Republican State Sen. Pat Browne, Democratic State Rep. Jennifer Mann and Governor Ed Rendell, Mayor Pawlowski was instrumental in the creation of the Neighborhood Improvement Zone (NIZ), a revolutionary state-approved economic development initiative that is providing the financial framework for the arena, hotel and office complex currently under construction in Center City Allentown. The Zone has already brought over $1 billion in financed and committed development to Allentown's Center City and Waterfront, including:
- $240 million Multi-purpose Arena
- $285 million Waterfront Project (The Waterfront by Jaindl/Dunn/Twiggar)
- $180 million Office and Hotel Complex (City Center Investment Corporation)
- $40 million Brewery Project by Ruckus Brewing Company
- $13 million Shoen's Building Renovation
- $40 million Mixed Use Complex at the Colonial Theatre Site (City Center Investment Corporation)
- $50 million Residential Project (City Center Investment Corporation & Pennrose Properties)
- $35 million Corporate Headquarters for Lehigh Gas (City Center Investment Corporation).
This anchor project will revitalize the urban core and spur further economic development throughout the City, transforming downtown Allentown into a prime destination to live, work and play. Prior to this anchor project, redevelopment of the downtown area was already underway with the building of the new PPL Plaza Building, the Butz Corporate Office Building, and several new restaurants that attracted residents and visitors back to Hamilton Street, once the main shopping destination in the Lehigh Valley.
The Mayor also led the effort to build a Coca-Cola Park, a state-of-the-art minor league baseball stadium for the AAA Iron Pigs on the City's East Side. Since the opening of the stadium, the Iron Pigs have consistently ranked among the top AAA franchises in the Country with over 750,000 attendees annually. Mayor Pawlowski's leadership and ability to work with elected officials at all levels of government was widely considered to be instrumental in the success of this project.
Parks & Recreation
Allentown has long been known for its expansive network of well-kept parks—a legacy to which Mayor Pawlowski was able to contribute. He created a state-of-the-art, handicapped-accessible playground in Cedar Beach Park, which attracts children from every neighborhood in Allentown and beyond. He also added free spray parks for City children to cool off during hot summer days. Due to his efforts, Allentown has been designated as a Playful City USA Community for the fourth year in a row.
Mayor Pawlowski's administration was also credited with bringing Allentown the coveted distinction as a "Tree City USA" for the first time in the City's History. This designation from the Arbor Foundation recognizes urban communities that have demonstrated a commitment to preserving urban forestry and sustainability.
With his extensive background in Community Development, Mayor Pawlowski and his administration have worked diligently to transform some of Allentown’s most challenged neighborhoods into safe, modern places for residents to call home. Some noteworthy projects completed under the Pawlowski administration include: recreating the pre-World War II era Hanover Acres public housing project into the modern Overlook Park Community and the multi-million dollar redevelopment of the Cumberland Gardens housing project on the City’s south side.
As Mayor, Pawlowski established the “Landlord Hall of Shame” to force irresponsible landlords to clean up problem properties, and he directed the Police Department to focus on nuisance crimes such as graffiti, excessive noise and illegal parking. Thanks to these efforts, quality of life in Allentown improved dramatically.
He improved the City’s infrastructure by advocating for State and Federal Funding for three new bridges now under construction—including one of the few federally funded bridges in Pennsylvania. That project, known as the "American Parkway Bridge" will connect Route 22 to Center City Allentown for the first time in 60 years. The Pawlowski Administration has also created programs to focus on neighborhood street-scape improvements, a new fire station, and the installation of approximately 1,200 ADA ramps.
This year, using a grant from the U.S.Department of Transportation, Allentown will lead the Commonwealth and the Nation in the fight for greater regulation and oversight of natural gas pipelines. This grant was issued in response to a 2011 natural gas pipeline explosion that leveled an entire city block and killed five Allentown residents.
Third Term Re-Election Campaign
In the May 21st, 2013 Primary Election, Mayor Ed Pawlowski, running for a third consecutive term as Mayor on the Democratic ticket, not only won the Democratic nomination but also the Republican nomination through a grassroots write-in campaign initiated by a number of local Republican activists and businessmen. Mayor Pawlowski is the first Mayor in the history of the City of Allentown to earn both the Republican and Democratic nominations for Mayor. Pawlowski faces an independent challenger in William Michael Donovan, a former City Councilman and Professor. A recent survey of likely voters shows Pawlowski with an overwhelming advantage.
During the 2013 Municipal Primary, Pawlowski was instrumental in supporting a number of Allentown Democrats, including Councilwoman Cynthia Mota and Council President Julio Guridy. Both Mota and Guridy were re-elected. Guridy received the most votes and Mota received the fourth-most votes. There were eight candidates vying for four open council seats.
President of the Pennsylvania Municipal League
Pawlowski was elected to be the President of the Pennsylvania Municipal League in 2013. Previously, Pawlowski had served as both First and Second Vice President of the organization. The Pennsylvania Municipal League (PML) is a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization established in 1900 as an advocate for Pennsylvania’s 3rd class cities. Today, the PML represents participating Pennsylvania cities, townships, town, boroughs, and home rule municipalities that all share the League’s municipal policy interests. The President and Board of Directors oversee the administration of a wide array of municipal services including legislative advocacy (on both the state and federal levels), publications designed to educate and inform, education and training certification programs, membership research and inquiries, consulting-based programs, and group insurance trusts.
As President, Pawlowski has focused on increasing the statewide profile of the Municipal League, developing innovative programs to help urban communities address pressing challenges such as lack of job growth, unfunded pension liabilities, and working with legislators in Harrisburg to ensure that cities are provided with the support and resources necessary for them to serve as economic catalysts for their regions.
Candidate for Governor, 2014
On September 8, 2013 Pawlowski officially announced his candidacy for Governor of Pennsylvania on Melissa Harris-Perry (MSNBC). For several months prior, Pawlowski had been linked with a potential Gubernatorial bid. At least six Democrats have announced their candidacy to challenge incumbent Gov. Tom Corbett. For nearly a year, Gov. Corbett has been considered among the weakest incumbent Governors in the United States, according to a University of Pennsylvania Poll.
Pawlowski is widely considered to be one of the strongest candidates to challenge incumber Gov. Tom Corbett. A 2013 Quinnipiac Poll found that "Allentown Mayor Ed Pawlowski amongst the strongest challengers to Governor Corbett. Pawlowski tops Gov. Tom Corbett 44% to 38%."  The Los Angeles Times, in a March 13, 2013 story, wrote: “If Allentown Mayor Ed Pawlowski faced Gov. Tom Corbett in a Pennsylvania gubernatorial match up today he would win…Pawlowski, who has hinted at an interest in the 2014 governor’s race, performs at the top of the list of potential Democratic challengers, besting Allyson Schwartz against Corbett.”
Prior to his announcement, Pawlowski had been among the most active Democratic elected officials in the state, visiting over 40 Counties while he stumped for President Obama's 2012 re-election campaign as well as several 2012 Congressional Candidates and Attorney General Kathleen Kane.
Pawlowski is expected to leverage his nation-wide network of Mayors and Donors to finance what could be a very expensive Gubernatorial bid. Politicos from both sides of the aisle believe that Pawlowski will be able to raise north of $3 million for the campaign. Pawlowski is widely considered to be among the strongest candidates in a crowded 2014 Democratic Field. His natural base in the Lehigh Valley Metropolitan Area and his Casey-esque profile tend to play well in Pennsylvania.
After his announcement, Pawlowski announced that he will be embarking on a 9-day, 23 County Tour of Pennsylvania to kick-off his candidacy for Governor. The tour begins in Allentown on Monday, September 9 and includes stops in the State Capital (Harrisburg), Philadelphia, State College, Pittsburgh, Erie, Scranton, Wilkes-Barre, Lancaster, York, and Reading.
During his announcement, Pawlowski cited Gov. Corbett's failed attempts to improve the Commonwealth's Infrastructure, his de-funding of Public Education, and Pennsylvania's plummeting job creation numbers as key issues for his campaign. Pawlowski touted his record of job creation and urban redevelopment in Allentown, going as far as to say that "Pennsylvania's cities are dying on the vine. We need a leader in Harrisburg who understands the unique challenges facing our urban cores."
Pawlowski's Campaign Website, www.PawlowskiForPA.com, indicated that his campaign will focus on the following priority issues:
"Growing the state economy and attracting good-paying jobs; Strengthening our public education system so every child has access to a quality education; Providing individuals and families access to quality health care and other essential services; Increasing government accountability and reaching across the aisle to find solutions to address the state’s challenges; Facilitating strong fiscal management that ensures taxpayer dollars are spent responsibly."
According to a Prospectus from the Pawlowski for Governor Campaign, Pawlowski's Campaign Team includes seasoned political veterans with substantial experience in electing moderate candidates in swing states.
- Mayor Ed Pawlowski official government site