September 1, 2016
In a recent Courier opinion column, I was challenged to encourage Congressman Mike Doyle to debate his Republican challenger.
For the last thirty years, I have spent my professional life advocating for low- and moderate-income residents and the communities they live in. As a Pastor, teacher and a public official, I have learned that it takes a team of committed people to transform the lives of low- and moderate- income families. I have known Congressman Mike Doyle for many years, and together we have fought for the issues that empower low- and moderate-income families including affordable housing, a living wage, safer communities, and good quality schools. In fact, during his entire 22 years of service in Congress, Mike Doyle has advocated for low- and moderate-income residents and their communities including communities of color.
The U.S. Congress operates in part upon seniority, so having a Congressman with Mike Doyle’s tenure gives at-risk neighborhoods in the Pittsburgh area a greater opportunity to receive federal assistance and funding. For example, Congressman Doyle has secured the highly competitive multi-million dollar U.S. Department of Transportation’s Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery (TIGER) grants for 5 communities in his district: Rankin, McKeesport, Duquesne, East Liberty and the Hill District which are all low- and moderate- income communities. Congressman Doyle has worked with Representative Ed Gainey, Representative Jake Wheatley, City Councilman R. Daniel Lavelle and County Councilman DeWitt Walton to provide resources to their constituents. He has worked with us all and he has earned our support.
In my district, Congressman Doyle was instrumental to the City of Pittsburgh being awarded the HUD Choice Neighborhoods Implementation Grant of 30 million dollars which is currently being used to build over 300 new housing units in Larimer. This is the largest investment in Larimer in over 70 years. He is personally responsible for hundreds of millions of dollars being invested in Western Pennsylvania and significant investment in traditional African-American communities.
I have watched him hire and mentor young people including African-Americans who continue to serve the Pittsburgh community in various government, business and non-profit organizations. Mike Doyle is known both nationally and locally as one of this country’s leading Democrats. Many residents may not be aware of his vast accomplishments because Mike Doyle is a humble man, rarely citing his own accomplishments. Instead, when I have worked with Congressman Doyle he simply states, “We must do the right thing”, or “It is important for the leaders to all work together.” Mike Doyle has for many years been a leader of leaders bringing needed resources to low- and moderate-income communities and their residents. And as my departed mother always said, actions speak louder than words. Mike Doyle’s actions have earned our community’s continued support.
Councilman Rev. Ricky Burgess
Pittsburgh Council District 9