Former Narberth Borough Council president Mary Jo Daley is officially back in politics, having launched her campaign for Pennsylvania's 148th district Thursday night at the Great American Pub in Conshohocken.
Dozens of supporters gathered in a side room of the pub to hear Daley speak for the first time in her candidacy, which began just weeks ago after an that he would not be seeking re-election.
Flanked by Gerber and Lita Cohen, who held the 148th seat from 1993 to 2002 as a Republican, Daley centered much of her speech on women's issues.
"The way that women are being treated and talked about on a state level and in the national arena are just reasons to make me want to run for this office," Daley said, adding that Pennsylvania ranks 42nd nationally in the number of women in office. "That was part of the hook to get me to say yes."
Daley said that she gained valuable experience in her 21 years as a Narberth councilwoman, working on issues like public safety, fiscal policy, and storm water runoff, and wanted to elevate her service to the next level.
"You look at taking these things up a ramp to the state level, and having an opportunity to work on issues that are important to all of us,” Daley said.
In addition to women's economic, reproductive, and civil issues, Daley said she is also concerned with the quality of education, drilling in the Marcellus Shale, and state administration of national health care policy.
According to Daley's LinkedIn page, she has worked as the associate director of business services for the University of Pennsylvania's Laboratory Animal Resources for eight years, and also holds a Bachelors of Business Administration and Masters of Public Administration from the school.
Daley touted that experience in her speech, saying that she runs financial and administrative aspects of a department with 150 employees and an annual budget of $18 million.
Rep. Gerber told Patch he also believes Daley's experience is valuable.
"She brings not only governmental experience but professional experience to the job, and we desperately need people of her professional and educational background in Harrisburg," Gerber said.
According to reporting from PoliticsPA, Daley was last month based on her experience and fundraising capabilities. That appears to be holding true so far, as Daley's campaign announced in a press release that it raised $20,000 in its first two weeks of operations.
Current Narberth council president Sam Quinn told Patch he has seen Daley’s campaigning abilities first hand.
"I ran with her one election, and we did a lot of knocking on doors and she connects with people," Quinn said. "When she first ran [for Narberth council] 20 years ago, she was one of the only Democrats to get elected in an all-Republican town, so that tells you she gets along with everyone."
In a speech that looked to pass the torch from Gerber to Daley, Cohen echoed the belief that Daley will campaign hard.
"[Gerber's stepping down] is a real loss to the community, and I think [Daley] has big shoes to fill, but she'll fill them," Cohen said. "Trust me, she ran against me, and I know what a hard worker she is. She will work her elbows off."
Daley has until Nov. 6 to do so, as she faces Republican challenger and Montgomery County deputy sheriff .
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