The Case for Doug Oliver

Matt Blank: Doug is "a leader who can break through the silos of past years and empower a new generation."

Doug Oliver. | Photo by Jeff Fusco.

Doug Oliver. | Photo by Jeff Fusco.

(Editor’s note: This week on Citified we’re featuring op-eds from supporters of the mayoral candidates. Monday, Ken Trujillo endorsed Jim Kenney. Tuesday, Ajay Raju made the case for Anthony Williams. Wednesday, Federico Peña argued for Nelson Diaz. Thursday, real estate Michael Sklaroff explained that Lynne Abraham was the best choice. Today, Matt Blank writes that Doug Oliver should be the city’s next mayor.)

It’s no secret that this is a critical moment in Philadelphia’s history. In the next 14 months, the city will host two events of global significance: the Democratic National Convention and the World Meeting of Families. We have a chance to show the world why Philadelphia is the best city in the nation.

It’s also no secret that Philadelphia is in the midst of a huge generational transition. More millennials have moved to Philadelphia over the past year six years than any other city in the country. Millennials comprise almost a third of the city’s population. The average Philadelphian is 33 years and seven months old.

Our city needs a mayor who can lead this changing Philadelphia. I believe Doug Oliver is that leader.

Unions and special interest groups play important roles in the city, but a mayor shouldn’t be beholden to either. Doug is not. His only agenda is to move the city forward through more inclusive governance, better tax policy, and more equitable educational opportunities for all citizens. That’s what will attract and retain millennials and keep our youth engaged and inspired. In the industrial age, Philadelphia was a beacon of opportunity because of railroads and natural resources. In the information age, cities are dependent upon the people that live in them. Doug is passionate about uniting our neighborhoods and inspiring our people to invest their time and energy in our city. There is no reason to wait four or eight years to empower these people to achieve success. The time is now.

I am an influencer in many different young leader organizations in Philadelphia, in the business, cultural, political and philanthropic communities. The millennial message is simple: We want a leader who can break through the silos of past years and empower a new generation of leadership that will take our city to the next level.

Doug Oliver will do this. His plan is sophisticated, but simple. He wants to make Philadelphia an easier place to live, work and play. By making it easier for businesses to create jobs and by improving education, Doug will create new opportunities for Philadelphians, not just in Rittenhouse Square, but in North Philadelphia and every other city neighborhood.

Doug has served as a Senior VP at PGW and as an adviser to Mayor Nutter. As mayor, Doug won’t accept that policy is acceptable because “it’s always been done this way.” He’ll ask: “why are we doing this and how does it advance our goals?”One of my favorite sayings is: “great things never come from comfort zones.” Doug Oliver is a leader who will push city government beyond its comfort zone, to achieve the great things Philadelphia needs.

I endorse Doug Oliver not because of his ability to raise campaign dollars, but because of his natural ability to lead. As a young Philadelphian who loves this city deeply, I want a leader who is not only a visionary, but an engineer who can connect the present to the future and motivate its residents to do the same. Vote for Doug Oliver on May 19.

Matt Blank is a strategist at Event Strategy Group and the president of YB Connected.