The history of Southeastern Pennsylvania Chapter of Americans for Democratic Action (aka the “Philly ADA”) is the history of progressive politics in Philadelphia.
Highlights include leadership roles in:
• The election of the first Democratic mayors Joseph Clark and Richardson Dilworth more than half a century ago.
• The drafting and adoption of the Philadelphia Home Rule Charter in 1951 and the Education Supplement to the Charter in 1965.
• The movement to recall Mayor Frank Rizzo.
• The election of Ed Rendell as DA against the Rizzo endorsed candidate.
• Opposition to a Charter change to enable Rizzo to run for a third term.
• The election of W. Wilson Goode Sr. as Philadelphia’s first black Mayor and the adoption of widespread ethics reforms in his administration.
• The Clean Sweep ’79 campaign to elect progressive candidates to City Council and row offices.
• The Casey Five Campaign in 1987 to elect reform judges to Common Pleas Court.
• The successful campaign to prevent the takeover of public schools by a for profit company.
A partial list of former board and staff members reads like a Who’s Who of City and State government reform:
Lenora Berson, former Board Chair and leader in Rizzo recall movement.
The Honorable Joseph S. Clark
The Honorable David Cohen
Tom Paine Cronin
Terry Delmuth, former Executive Director of ADA and later a top aide to Gov. Milton Shapp.
The Honorable Richardson Dilworth
Tom Gilhool, former Chair, who served as PA Secretary of Education under Gov. Casey.
Terry Gillen, current Senior Advisor for Economic Development for Mayor Michael A. Nutter.
Mary Goldman, former Board Chair, chaired L&I Review Board, led reform of 27th Ward.
The Honorable Bill Greenlee, former Chair, who is now a City Councilmember, led reform of 15th Ward.
The Honorable Happy Fernandez, former Board Chair, who served on City Council for 8 years, and currently Pres. of Moore College of Art and Design.
The Honorable W. Wilson Goode
David Hornbeck, former Board Chair, and later Phila. Superintendent of Schools.
Eileen O’Brien, former Board Member, staff to former Councilman John Anderson.
Leon Shull, Ex. Dir and later Ex. Dir. of National ADA.
Teri Simon, member of Lower Merion Planning Commission.
Kevin Vaughn, former Board Chair, former Deputy City Managing Dir., and former ex. dir. of Human Relations Board.
Shelly Yanoff, former Executive Director and Board Member, who ran the Rizzo Recall and for the past 20 years has been the Executive Director of Philadelphia Citizens for Children and Youth, the region’s leading child advocacy agency.
and last but not least…
Mayor Michael A. Nutter, former ADA Treasurer.
In becoming an ADA activist, you join a long and impressive line of political leaders whose labors have made the Philadelphia region a more livable and just city.