Daniel “Duke” Orsino, 32, a blue-collar worker and LGBT advocate, has jumped into the race for a seat on Philadelphia City Council.
Orsino, who joins the growing crop of LGBT candidates for council, hopes to not only be the first openly gay man to hold a seat, but is also looking to bring a healthy change to the city.
“I do feel that there is not enough LGBT representation, not enough representation of the lower classes in government. I’m a firm believer anybody should have the right to run, regardless of class and that is one of the reasons I’m doing this to prove that,” said Orsino, a Democrat.
Orsino joins other out city council hopefuls including Sherrie Cohen, the lesbian daughter of late Philadelphia Councilman David Cohen; Adrian Rivera-Reyes, a young cancer biologist; and transgender woman Deja Lynn Alvarez. No LGBTQ person has held a city council seat.
All 17 city council seats are up for election in 2019. City Council is comprised of 10 members elected by district and seven members elected at-large. The five Democratic at-large candidates receiving the most votes in the May 21 primary election will go on to the Nov. 5 general election.
“There are good people in the government, but nobody is acting. I want to be a voice in the government,” Orsino said.
Orsino is originally from New Jersey and has resided in Philadelphia for the past two years and describes himself on his Twitter page as, “Just a millenial guy, who cares about his community.”
He said, “I think the government needs a fresh new pair of eyes in a new generation.”
According to the city council candidate, there is a need for an affordable housing program for working middle class people and unions need a stronger voice. Orsino added the importance of just getting a voice out there, regardless of political party.
“It doesn’t matter what political party, Democrat or Republican. It’s the same group of people running, over and over. It’s the same tribe, same ideas, expecting different results to happen and acting suprised when the same thing happens over and over again. I think the government needs a fresh pair of eyes in a new generation,” he said.
Orsino works in a factory creating inserts for shoes and graduated from Rowan College at Gloucester with an associate degree. The candidate added that it is important to recognize everyone, regardless of their class or sexuality.
“I care about people. I’m just tired of people getting stepped on,” Orsino said. “I relate to the needs of others. I’m tired of seeing the same rich people, both political parties, doing the same thing over and over. The whole reason I’m doing this is because I want to help people like myself,” he said.
Other issues Orsino wants to tackle include helping the city’s poverty situation, looking to encourage school-board reform and eliminating the city’s “soda tax” (The Philadelphia Beverage Tax).
“I want to tackle the poverty issue, offer educatinon for those in poverty, and look at how to help people start small businesses and sustain affordable housing,” Orsino said.
Orsino also hopes to address the HIV and AIDS crisis in Philadelphia.
For more information on Orsino’s campaign, visit www.facebook.com/DukeForCityCouncil2019 or www.twitter.com/DanDukeOrsino.