Dan Muroff believes that he can relate to the average voter because he shares the same kinds of experiences and crises that are a part of their everyday lives.
The 50-year-old advocacy attorney, former president of CeaseFire PA and the Conservation Voters of Pennsylvania, and unsuccessful candidate in the 2016 race for Congress in the 2nd District, recently announced he’ll make another run for Congress in 2018.
He joins a crowded Democratic field seeking the nomination against U.S. Rep. Pat Meehan, a Republican representing the state’s 7th District. A change in residence allows Muroff to compete in a different district.
Muroff said some of the recent actions in Washington, D.C., with the House voting to repeal the Affordable Care Act and President Donald Trump committing the U.S. to pull out of the Paris climate accord, hit home on a personal level.
“I had a sister who disappeared in 1997,” said Muroff, who grew up in Havertown. “My sister Marlyn had a substance abuse problem from the time that I remember.
“The opioid addiction crisis is high-profile today, but there are lot of us who lived through the aftermath of a family member who was addicted and really do appreciate and understand the challenges and the impact it has on the family. … So when I hear Trump putting out a budget where he wants to cut programs that provide service to people in recovery, I don’t know how else to characterize it but as radical.”
He says that Meehan, a four-term congressman whose territory touches a piece of Philadelphia, as well as parts of Montgomery, Delaware, Chester, Berks and Lancaster counties, is doing his constituents a disservice.
“Is he calling out the president? Is he firm in a conviction against proposals that would remove health care and safety net programs?” asked Muroff. “‘No’ to both. Somebody has to hold Donald Trump accountable, and we need more members of the House and Senate to do that.”
Meehan declined to respond to Muroff’s assertions.
It remains to be seen whether Meehan and Muroff will get the chance to debate in person, since it’s 17 months before that potential showdown might take place.
To even get there, Muroff first has to win the heavily contested primary.
Between now and May 2018, he needs to familiarize himself with what he calls “the most gerrymandered district in Pennsylvania by most any objective standard.”
That idea of fairness and standing up for the little guy has always been there for Muroff, who said his mother, Rose, helped form the Philadelphia Federation of Teachers union and was involved in other civic activities, while his father sold bathrobes in a family business on Market Street.
“I’d say my religion formed a lot of my values, my purpose,” said Muroff, who became a Bar Mitzvah at Main Line Reform Temple. “I don’t know if you want to call it tikkun olam, but there’s a drive coming from within.
“I want every constituency behind me, but obviously I am appealing to values most in the Jewish community share. Over 70 percent of American Jews are Democrats. Most Jews are deeply concerned with the direction of our country under Trump and what I deem to be a complicit legislature.”
Muroff, who served as policy director for Dan Wofford’s congressional and Joe Hoeffel’s senatorial campaigns, said his background should give him an advantage.
“Right now, I’m the only person running who has any significant policy advocacy, civic work or history in the race,” he said. “It’s important to raise issues that need to be raised.”
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