WCU alum runs for Phoenixville mayor
April 10, 2017
Filed under Features
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Principled, pragmatic, progressive. Those three words serve as the foundation for a vision to improve lives and make change at both a local and national level.
Behind that vision is Nate Craig, 33-year-old Green Party candidate currently entrenched in Phoenixville’s mayoral race. Elections aren’t for another eight months, but time moves at a different speed during campaign season.
Not unlike millions of Americans after the results of the presidential election were decided, Craig became invigorated with a sense of urgency once Nov. 8 came and went. Inspired to spark change at a local level, Craig rallied up a team, enlisted fellow WCU alum Luke Bauerlein as his campaign manager and started to map out a plan towards victory.
The first step was aligning with a political party that not only matched his values, but also made sense given the issues he was passionate about fighting for. A stalwart Bernie Sanders supporter during the 2016 primaries, Craig took inspiration from the grassroots initiatives that fueled Sanders’ fanbase. Add that to the environmental initiatives that he planned to work on during his campaign, and the Green Party seemed like the perfect fit.
“In their Four Pillars, the Green Party promotes ecological sustainability, economic justice and sustainability, democracy and social justice,” Craig said. “[Its] values are what make the Green Party my party.”
To understand Craig’s passion for political involvement, one has to rewind back to his days as a West Chester University student. As a philosophy of religion major, Craig began to gather knowledge and ideas on how to think about issues in a critical and morally sound manner. The seeds of political motivation were planted at WCU. Fast forward 10 years and Craig’s bid for mayor has seen those seeds start to take ground.
Those “seeds” are taking ground in the form of four initiatives that Craig has been involved with throughout the campaign season. These initiatives include the LGBTQA anti-discrimination ordinance and the Affordable Housing Task Force, which Craig helped to rally supporters behind. There are also the Tenant Rights Authority and Environmental Advisory Council that Craig helped to get started.
Another principal initiative that Craig will be working towards if elected is overseeing the Phoenixville Police Department. As a resident of Phoenixville for several years, Craig—a single father to a young son—sees the safety of his town as a crucial pillar to making it stronger.
“Our officers have made Phoenixville a town where I’ve never worried for the well-being of my son once in the three years I’ve lived here,” said Craig. “For an overprotective dad like me, that’s huge!”
As far as achieving these initiatives, the Green Party is the ideal place to start. Third parties stand out from Republican and Democratic campaigns in that they can build trust on a more localized level. By working with inspired individuals and small businesses, third parties can serve as a catalyst for community change in ways that larger parties might not be able to.
For Craig, building trust is the most important place to start with his campaign.
“If elected mayor of Phoenixville, I will facilitate creating a more transparent, local government,” he said. “I intend to create a system to help residents stay informed about the issues that matter most to them and to provide a means for them to contact me with their feedback and concerns.”
Craig will be speaking at various events in Phoenixville in the coming months, like the Mayoral Town Hall on Wednesday, April 12 and the Pennsylvania Green Party meeting on Saturday, April 29. Perhaps most important are the Pennsylvania primaries coming up on Tuesday, May 16. If you’re interested in attending any of these events or learning more, like the Nate Craig for Mayor of Phoenixville page on Facebook.
The key to successfully winning a principled, pragmatic and progressive campaign requires getting the word out there and building a supportive and communal fanbase.
“For those who are looking for ways to help my campaign, I welcome all kinds of support,” said Craig. “From promoting our campaign’s social media, to talking to friends, to knocking on doors, to donating, everyone can contribute in some way. Together, we can achieve progress.”
Rachel Alfiero is a fourth-year student majoring in communication studies with minors in Latin American studies and Spanish. She can be reached at [email protected]