With just over a week left until the 2018 Election, Rep. Dwight Evans (D-PA) took time out of his busy schedule to visit Chestnut Hill College. While on campus, Evans held a forum with students, faculty and staff, sharing his thoughts on campaign issues and stressing the importance of voting as an indispensable tool for fostering change both locally and nationally.
“There’s nothing more important than that vote,” Evans said. “If you don’t like what you see, do something. There’s no use talking about it, and there’s no use making noise about it. Voting is what gives you a chance to do something about it.”
The College welcomed Evans as part of its “Meet the Candidate” series. The series, which has featured political candidates from both the Democratic and Republican parties, was designed to engage students in the political process and encourage them to become more informed and invested in candidates running for office in their districts. Evans, who is running for re-election in Pennsylvania’s newly redrawn 3rd Congressional District, highlighted a few of the issues central to his campaign, such as poverty, jobs, small business, education and healthcare. Following his speech, Evans fielded questions from students, whom afterwards he spoke to individually.
Continuing to stress the importance of voting on Nov. 6 for the midterm elections, Evans told the audience that it is the voters who hold the bulk of political power in the country. As Evans said, "The most important title isn't congressman — it’s citizen.”
A longtime friend of the College, Evans ended his speech by talking about particular aspects of CHC that he values, specifically noting the diversity and inclusion on campus and in the student body. According to Evans, it is that kind of environment that allows a college to produce well-educated and culturally experienced and accepting individuals. These individuals, Evans said, are ones that come together to create a healthy, well-functioning democracy, built on positive ideals and people who aren't afraid to enact change in their communities.
“What I find in Chestnut Hill [College] is diversity and inclusion, and I think that is extremely important,” Evans said.
While not part of the original schedule of events, Evans' opponent in the race for the 3rd District’s congressional seat, Bryan Leib, arrived unexpectedly and spoke informally to many students and shared his own platform and reason for his candidacy.
Evans was first elected as a state representative from the 203rd District in 1980 at the age of 26. In 1986, Evans was a major catalyst in obtaining approval to build Philadelphia’s new convention center. He made history in 1990 when he became the first African American Chairman of the House Appropriations Committee, a post he held for two decades.
Evans assisted in establishing the West Oak Lane Charter School, a unionized school that just celebrated its 20th anniversary and status as the oldest charter school in Philadelphia. The congressman was also one of the leaders behind the creation of the Pennsylvania Fresh Food Financing Initiative, a program that sought to attract grocery stores to underserved urban and rural areas.
Born and raised in North Philadelphia, Evans attended Germantown High School and later the Community College of Philadelphia and La Salle University. Following graduation, he worked as a teacher in the School District of Philadelphia. Afterwards, he worked as a job developer for the Urban League of Philadelphia.