One of Us: Dwight Evans

The former state representative and first-term U.S. Congressman, 62, talks bad TV, Wawa hoagies, and the time he lied to get a job.

Illustration by Andy Friedman

Illustration by Andy Friedman

My name is … Dwight Evans. My grandmother named me after Dwight Eisenhower.

I was born … at Pennsylvania Hospital, the country’s first hospital, which Ben Franklin founded with 200 pounds of public money and 200 pounds of private money.

When I grew up in North Philly in the ’60s … the neighborhood was strong, active, and very positive. There was so much economic activity.

I graduated from … Germantown High School — it recently closed after 99 years — Community College of Philadelphia, and La Salle College, where I was the head of the Black Student Union.

My marital status is … single. It’s all politics, all the time.

For breakfast, I usually have … bananas and grapefruit and juice. But I love eggs and grits and turkey bacon.

Chaka Fattah is … a person I’ve known for 40 years. We started out together in politics. What’s happening now is very unfortunate, but I hope that the people of Philadelphia realize that it’s a new day and a new way in which we operate. We will be open and transparent.

When I became a state rep in 1980, Philadelphia was … at a real crossroads. When I grew up, you could always get a job. We were an industrial city. Now that we’re a more technology-and-finance type of city, not everyone has been able to participate.

The best movie about politics has got to be … City Hall, with Al Pacino.

As a U.S. Congressman, I hope to … make cities a real priority on the national agenda.

My first job was … at Rolling Hill Hospital — now part of Einstein’s MossRehab center — where I made $1.10 an hour in the dietary department. I manipulated my age to work there. I was actually just 14.

If I ever sit down with Donald Trump, I will tell him … about the art of the deal. He says he wants to make America great again. Well, there are some communities where we need to induce economic opportunity. He said, what does the inner city have to lose? A lot.

My standard Wawa order is … the newspaper. It used to be the small turkey hoagie, but I’m trying to cut back.

One thing Philly has that D.C. really needs is … values, heart, great neighborhoods and great people.

When I was a kid, I wanted to grow up to be … an oceanographer. I thought I wanted to explore what was on the bottom of the ocean.

The farthest I’ve ever traveled from the United States is … Siberia in 1988, with a group of legislators back when it was still the Soviet Union. Also Johannesburg, where I met Nelson Mandela.

One TV show I cannot miss is … Dancing with the Stars.

If we’re having drinks together, I’ll take a … water. I don’t drink alcohol. Never been a drinker or a smoker. I’m more a teetotaler.

Black History Month is … really something that should be every day. Black history is American history.

If you’re considering a run for political office … think long and hard.

Published as “One of Us: Dwight Evans” in the February 2017 issue of Philadelphia magazine.