Polls consistently show Americans have an unfavorable view of Congress — a March CNN survey pegged the approval rating at 18 percent — a reality Bryan Leib points to when making the argument that it’s time for some new leadership.
“You see the same players over and over and over again, in the political world and nothing really changes,” he said. “The time has come for a fresh face, with a strong voice, who isn’t afraid to shake things up, and that’s something that I would do if I’m elected to Congress. I would go in there, and I would shake things up because the way that we’re operating right now, it’s just not working.”
At 32 years old, and after a decade of living in Philadelphia, Leib felt it was time to act and throw himself into the race for Pennsylvania’s Third Congressional District.
He is the sole Republican candidate in the primary, while incumbent Rep. Dwight Evans (Second District) and Kevin Johnson will compete in the Democratic primary. Earlier this year, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court approved a newly redrawn congressional map that placed much of the previous Second District into the new Third District.
Philadelphia is not properly represented in terms of age, which is why the city needs someone young like him in office, Leib said. That, combined with the redrawn map, made him feel like the time was right for him to step into the political arena. He wants to give a voice to millennials.
“Millennials don’t vote, and they don’t vote because you have elected officials that are not who we are,” Leib said. “They’re 55, 65 years old. They’ve been in elected office for 15, 25, 35, 45 years. Millennials as a whole are just fed up with the status quo.”
Leib was born in Philadelphia and raised in Voorhees, N.J. Much of his family, including his grandparents, lived in Philadelphia, so he spent a lot of time in the city growing up. About 10 years ago, he moved into the city to support his grandmother, who was experiencing some health issues.
Leib has a passion for public service, and spent the past decade serving on a variety of different nonprofits, including Jewish organizations like the boards of JNFuture and Young Friends of the National Museum of American Jewish History. He is also a member of Temple Beth Zion-Beth Israel.
One of his political priorities speaks directly to his Jewish identity — his support of Israel. He said he strongly agrees with President Donald Trump’s decision to move the American embassy to Jerusalem.
In addition, he has served other organizations like United Way, Camden Youth Soccer Club and the Charitable Ticket Network. He is a member of Philadelphia Young Republicans and the Republican Jewish Coalition (RJC).
“I’m happy when any of our members get involved in the political process,” RJC Regional Director Scott Feigelstein said. “This is certainly the most direct way for someone to get involved, by running for office. Bryan is a valued member of the Republican Jewish Coalition, and we’re delighted to see him take the initiative and decide to try to make a change based on what he sees necessary to do, and we’re happy to see him do it.”
As part of his goal to shake up the status quo, Leib said he would like to introduce legislation to impose term limits on federal legislators. Other issues important to Leib include supporting small businesses, focusing on infrastructure and reining in spending.
“We just keep spending and spending and spending,” Leib said. “It’s money that we don’t have. We keep growing the size of government, and I’m a firm believer that we need to shrink the size of government. We need to cut our spending. And the spending that we do have, let’s be smart about it. Let’s invest in small businesses. Let’s invest in communities.”
Leib is running in a district that has a Democratic incumbent — and a significant Democratic registration advantage — but he has a history of working with people of all political stripes, and he said he would continue to do so in office.
“I’m running on a platform that wants to create opportunity for everyone,” he said. “Regardless of whether or not you’re a Democrat or independent or Republican, if you love the city of Philadelphia, and you want to move our city forward and create a brighter future for everyone, then I’m going to welcome you with open arms.”
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