I never intended to run for elected office, let alone Congress, but everything changed 2014. It started with the simple buzz of a cell phone in my left pocket, and it was one of those phone calls that you don't expect to change your life.

It was my Mom calling. She asked whether I’d be able to visit her the first of November, just two weeks away.

“But don’t you remember?" I replied. "That’s my wedding day." She had been asking for years when I was going to get married to my girlfriend Diane. Now, somehow, she’d forgotten.

In 2016, we finally got a diagnosis, a name for what was happening: PSP, a rare, degenerative neurological disease. It’s taken away my Mom’s ability to walk, to use her arms, and to feed herself. But she continues to fight, and so does my family. We’ve banded together to care for her, with the help of Medicaid. Without it, her care would cost over $10,000 per month, which we can’t afford.

I’m from a family that tried to do everything right. But Medicaid is now all that stands between us and the financial abyss. I’ve had to watch as Republicans keep trying to pull the threads out from the net under us. And I wonder: if Trump met my Mom — one who worked as a social worker and saved for retirement and worked a second job in retail and ate peanut-butter-and jelly sandwiches for dinner — what nasty names would he call her?

We all know deep down how fast and far we can fall with just one bad diagnosis, one unexpected bill, one bad encounter with addictive opioids. The great lie of Republicans in 2018 is if you’ve fallen, if you need a helping hand, then it’s your fault. 

That you’re a Moocher. A Loser. That you don’t deserve respect from your own government.

That’s not the America I know. And the community where I grew up — where my family and I cared for my grandmother, where my friends and my teachers made their homes, where I was taught what it means to be a citizen — we have a more powerful truth, one we can tell together. The truth is that all of us, whatever we’ve endured, are worth it. Worthy. In the wealthiest, most powerful, most innovative country on earth, we can treat everyone with dignity and respect. That’s what American greatness and strength mean to me.

I’m an entrepreneur and journalist who served in the Peace Corps and the AmeriCorps. With your support, I've felt empowered to join the race for Pennsylvania's fifth district, to represent the people who raised me, shaped me, and taught me what it means to be a citizen.

Join me as we fight for this community’s values. It’s time to get the honorable representation we deserve. It’s time to tell our story.


Show your support for this campaign by endorsing it and sharing why!

  • endorsed

    “I am aware we also need canidates that are mandated to stand on his convictions to put human lives first and no longer preserve the status quo that continues to hold on to profit base health care.”

  • endorsed

    “I support David Wertime because the country needs someone like him to stand up for values of his community and his family.”

  • endorsed

    “I support David Wertime because I believe in him!!”

  • endorsed

    “I endorse David Wertime's candidacy whole-heartedly. He is young, he is dynamic, well-educated, widely traveled, and pragmatic. All his personal assets, combined with his dynamism, are going to represent his constituency with dignity and bring some sense to the chamber which can use fresh ideas to some regional and national advantage. We need people of his experience and intelligence in the House. Let's give him a hand! Pradyumna”

  • endorsed

    “I support David Wertime and want to help him flip Congress...Good luck, den, louisiana”

  • endorsed

    “At a time of growing inequality in the country and stagnation in the Congress we need a champion for the truth and positive reform, and especially one who is as bright and informed as David Wertime”

  • endorsed

    “Go get em”

  • endorsed

    “Good luck, David!”

  • endorsed

    “One of the kindest and most thoughtful people I've known. Go, David, go!”

  • endorsed

    “David will be a great leader for this time. He's built a great business, seen and reported on the world, and all the while been always thinking about the challenges of everyday people. Congress has too few people like David serving.”

February 21, 2018

Exciting News. I'm In!

Dear friends and supporters,

I’m thrilled to report that yesterday, thanks to your generosity and enthusiasm, I felt empowered to declare my candidacy for Pennsylvania’s fifth Congressional district. Truly, I could not have done this without you — you made me feel that even in today’s troubled times, anything is still possible. We’ve raised over $78,000, and the pledges keep coming in as I write this.

Learn more about me, and my very personal story, here: 

www.davidwertime.com

Now, about those numbers. My CrowdPac page has listed me as a potential candidate for the Pennsylvania seventh, not fifth. What gives?

This follows a Pennsylvania Supreme Court ruling, upheld on appeal, that the GOP’s ridiculous gerrymandering — for which the seventh was a poster child — violates the Pennsylvania constitution. The court gave the GOP-controlled legislature time to pass a new map and work with the Governor to agree on it. But Republicans here continued to play games, offering a new but still highly gerrymandered map, and then questioning the authority of the PA Supreme Court and impugning the honesty of its justices. 

On Monday, Republicans ran out of time, and out of luck. The Pennsylvania Supreme Court mandated that the commonwealth use a new Congressional map for the 2018 elections (here’s an interactive version). One look and a bit of common sense will tell you: it’s a far better map. It’s more compact, less gerrymandered, and gets rid of 1,100 miles worth of unnecessary lines. It also renumbers most of the districts, and of course, shifts their borders.

It also means that the fifth district is now, very clearly, the right district for me. It doesn’t just include a chunk of what used to be the seventh. It also includes my current family home. It includes the school where I went to junior high and to high school. It includes my old family home, where three generations of us lived under one roof, where my grandparents and then my parents made their lives. It includes the college where my grandfather taught and where my dad, my brother, and other close family members studied. 

I want you to know all this because, in 24 hours, I plan to convert this from an exploratory campaign to the real thing. At that time, your cards will be charged — and we will be off to the races (literally). 

If you feel that this wasn’t what you signed up for — that the area where you wanted me to run includes a part that’s no longer in the new, fifth district — please email support@crowdpac.com soon after you get this, and they’ll process a refund.

For those of you still in: I’m all in too. I will be spending every waking moment between now and Primary Day talking to as many people as I can, hearing and elevating their stories, and yours. It will be challenging, exhilarating, and unforgettable. I hope you will stay involved.

Your support will remain critical. You will still be able to continue to donate to this campaign via the same CrowdPac page. Over time, we will develop other methods too, to make giving, and getting involved, as seamless as possible.

Please accept my thanks. And don’t hesitate to email me directly at david@davidwertime.com. This is your campaign too.

With gratitude and affection,

David

February 13, 2018

Another Milestone, as Bitter Fight Over Redistricting Continues

Dear Friends,

Yesterday, we crossed the crucial $75,000 threshold in this exploratory journey aimed at flipping Pennsylvania’s seventh Congressional district. It’s because of you — 227 of you, in fact — who have stepped up to say “enough.” Enough to the constant games of partisan gerrymandering that leave many voters in Pennsylvania (and let’s face it, around the country) feeling confused, checked out, taken for granted. Enough to the White House’s endless assault on basic norms and bedrock institutions. And enough to a Pennsylvania politics that’s long fallen short of the standards of transparency, decency, and forward thinking that its wonderful residents deserve.

And so, from the bottom of my heart, thank you. Whether you gave $1, $100, or $1,000: thank you. Whether you live in Bensalem, Pennsylvania or Baldwin, Missouri or Eugene, Oregon: thank you. Every time you pledge, every time you share, every time you step up, you lift me up — and you light another small candle that shows all of us the way toward a better, more inclusive government. 

But we can’t rest. Right now, the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania waits with bated breath to see what its new Congressional map is going to look like. After the Pennsylvania Supreme Court ordered our Republican-controlled legislature to come up with a less gerrymandered map, they came back with one that looked better, but was just as cynically sliced and diced to preserve existing GOP advantages. Today, Governor Tom Wolf rightly rejected the map. Now, we wait to see what the Pennsylvania Supreme Court produces, and whether Republicans choose to play dirty (again) in response.

We’re all responsible for our own behavior, but the tone is set from the top. Donald Trump has the ability to make weeks feel like months, and to make a year feel like a decade. His constant attention-mongering and endless assaults on our basic sense of decency make it feel like he’s been President forever. But there is Life After Trump, and the sooner we can articulate our vision for that, the sooner we can win at the ballot box. When the angry storm passes, we need to be ready to seize the mantle of leadership. 

And so now is the time to starting thinking about what a true, 21st century politics looks like. It’s one where Representatives use modern media to stay deeply connected with constituents, rather than hiding in a room and dialing for dollars all day. It’s one where we can unite in common cause, even if we’ve never met, and make electoral democracy accessible again, maybe even fun again. It’s one where terms like love and empathy and inclusion and social justice and a minimum wage aren’t for “snowflakes,” but for proud patriots.

Despite all the rancor, all the anger, and all the disappointment, I still carry that image of a loving America deep in my heart. It’s what I learned working for the AmeriCorps and representing my country abroad in the Peace Corps. It’s what I learned watching my Mom work with underserved families near Philadelphia. It’s what my teachers and my mentors instilled. It’s what the people right here in Pennsylvania have always proven is possible.

To a better tomorrow.

Yours,

David

January 26, 2018

Major News in the Pennsylvania Seventh

Dear friends,

It has been an extraordinary week for Pennsylvania’s seventh district. Just yesterday, Republican incumbent Pat Meehan announced that he will not seek re-election later this year. The news follows revelations that he sexually harassed a member of his staff, secretly used taxpayer money to fund a settlement, then attempted to defend himself by saying the staffer had been a “soulmate” who somehow “invited” the harassment when she agreed to meet him for ice cream.

Yet he still insists he didn’t do anything wrong. Pat doesn’t get it. He’s blind to the power his office conferred, the way his conduct violated the trust that power implies, and all the pain that his willful ignorance has caused.

Come to think of it, that explains a lot about Meehan's votes, which include repeated attempts to dismantle the healthcare system on which people like my Mom depend. Congress, and the rest of us, will be better off without him in that seat.

Whoever replaces Meehan on the GOP ticket will have their work cut out for them. That’s because just this Monday, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court ruled the state’s gerrymandered district lines unconstitutional and ordered our state legislature to redraw the congressional map. Unless the U.S. Supreme Court intervenes, it will spell the end of seventh district’s ridiculous old outline, which some say looks like Goofy kicking Donald Duck. It looks to me like the GOP kicking everyday voters. It’s remarkably disrespectful to the notion that our votes should all count equally. A more equitable district, and one more favorable to Democrats, is going to take its place.

And now, a look forward: After less than three weeks of fundraising, we are now over two-thirds of the way to our $100,000 goal! Across 134 pledges, we have raised $67,061 in amounts ranging from $1 to $5,400. We’re averaging over $3,600 raised every single day.

But don’t let those big numbers fool you — every single bit helps. Please share the fundraising link with anyone who wants to invest in the outcome of this pivotal race, one that’s been in the headlines as much as any Congressional race in this country: 

crowdpac.com/c/wertimeforpa7

We should all be heartened after this week. The voters of the Pennsylvania seventh district — people I grew up with — deserve to be able to elect their own representatives. They deserve a representative that wakes up every single day thinking about their safety and health first — not about how to please Paul Ryan and big donors. They deserve someone who brings to this crucial role empathy, humanity, and an optimism that we can work together to make our country even better.

With your continued support, we can make that vision a reality.

With gratitude and respect,

David

January 20, 2018

Sad and Frustrating News.

Whiplash. 

That’s the best word I can think of to describe what today felt like. Just this morning, my wife Diane set out under a blue sky to join thousands and thousands of women, men, and children for the Philadelphia Women’s March. Of course, such a march shouldn’t even need to take place in the 21st century — the principles of equality and decency for which it stands should be universally shared and recognized — but it still felt rousing and energizing to see Philadelphia’s streets throng with people determined to make this century better than the last one.

Yet not hours later, I read the very sad and frustrating news that Patrick Meehan, the man who currently occupies the Pennsylvania seventh Congressional district seat, had been found by a New York Times expose published this afternoon to have romantically pursued a female colleague in his office, created an “untenable” office environment when he was rebuffed that made it impossible for her to continue, then used taxpayer dollars to try to make the consequences of his actions go away.

My first thoughts go to the woman who had to suffer the Congressman’s advances, his subsequent betrayal, the institutional indifference that followed after she had the courage to share her story, and finally, the financial and career repercussions she’s had to face since. Particularly nauseating is the fact that while Patrick Meehan could use taxpayer dollars to pay his expenses, “Mr. Meehan’s accuser paid her own lawyers’ fees,” the article tells us, “and the settlement she reached was not enough to cover her legal and living expenses while she was out of work, according to a person with whom she discussed her finances.”

More broadly, Rep. Meehan’s actions reflect a problem in Congress, in Pennsylvania politics, and in our national and global community with which we’re just beginning to reckon. I want to stress it’s a problem that affects us all. We're all worse off when powerful offices and institutions are hostile work environments for women. It drives away talented, dedicated people at a time when we need their talent and decency in positions of power more urgently than ever.

I confess to harboring the old-fashioned notion that public servants with as much power as Patrick Meehan should be held to a higher, and not a lower, standard. He has already been removed from the House Ethics Committee in the wake of this revelation. But given his behavior, and his use of taxpayer dollars, I think he should resign from his office. 

This, of course, is a systemic problem as well as one of individual misdeed. We need far more robust systems to receive and investigate complaints in Congress, and in workplaces elsewhere — systems that endeavor to create productive and safe and human work environments, not to cover for abusers. And all of us, particularly those in positions of power and influence, need to do more to make it clear in our words and deeds, public and private, that absolutely none of this can be normal any where, any more.

I’ll end on a note of gratitude. As a journalist, I’m thankful that Katie Rogers, Kenneth Vogel, and the New York Times did exactly what a free and flourishing press is supposed to do: hold power to account, and shine a flashlight of transparency and truth into once-dark corners. Following and reporting a story like this — and getting the facts right, with no help of course from Congress — is difficult, sometimes dangerous. They have done their work here with persistence, sensitivity, and humanity. It’s a reminder of why our country needs the news media; and why those in power often go out of their way to bad-mouth it.

It’s obvious we all have a lot of work to do in 2018. At least today's women’s marches across the country remind us how many friends and allies are up for that task. 

-David

January 20, 2018

Two Amazing Milestones - And on a Special Day

Dear friends and supporters, I'm beyond thrilled to share the news that since starting this CrowdPac page just two weeks ago, as of this day, we've amassed over 100 pledges and have surpassed the $50,000 mark! This is a major testament to you - to your civic-mindedness, to your generosity of spirit, and to your faith that we together have the power to redeem and renew our political life. We hope you'll continue to share the news of this exciting exploratory campaign, and enlist new allies: crowdpac.com/c/wertimeforpa7

It's particularly meaningful for me to share this news as Diane and I make signs and prepare to head out on a clear, sunny day to participate in the Women's March in Philadelphia. One year ago, I was able to attend the history-making Women's March in Washington, DC - but as a journalist, not a participant. I was joined that day by Diane, a good friend of ours, and the late journalist Kim Wall, who was writing a story about Chinese feminists in America. (Here's my essay about that experience, and Kim's legacy.)

One year later, much has changed. Kim's life was tragically lost when she encountered brutal and senseless violence in the line of duty; her memory will follow us today. Yet because of the courage and persistence of so many, the fear that suffused the air in the days surrounding Donald Trump's election and inauguration seems to have abated, just a bit. It's giving way to proper, righteous, empowering anger - that sense that our democracy is resilient enough, and that our well of decency and resolve is indeed deep enough, to survive what his Presidency will bring. If, that is, we remain committed, and work together.

For that to happen, we must all continue to march in our own ways. That can take many forms, from taking to the streets, to giving to campaigns that bring fresh and needed voices to Washington, to remaining informed, active, vocal, and passionate citizens and neighbors. 

Thank you all for what you do, each day, to make things just a bit better. It's been a year, and we're still here: Don't give up. We promise we won't either. 

With affection,

David

Campaign created!

Show your support for this campaign by endorsing it and sharing why!

  • endorsed

    “I am aware we also need canidates that are mandated to stand on his convictions to put human lives first and no longer preserve the status quo that continues to hold on to profit base health care.”

  • endorsed

  • endorsed

    “I support David Wertime because the country needs someone like him to stand up for values of his community and his family.”

  • endorsed

    “I support David Wertime because I believe in him!!”

  • endorsed

    “I endorse David Wertime's candidacy whole-heartedly. He is young, he is dynamic, well-educated, widely traveled, and pragmatic. All his personal assets, combined with his dynamism, are going to represent his constituency with dignity and bring some sense to the chamber which can use fresh ideas to some regional and national advantage. We need people of his experience and intelligence in the House. Let's give him a hand! Pradyumna”

  • endorsed

    “I support David Wertime and want to help him flip Congress...Good luck, den, louisiana”

  • endorsed

  • endorsed

  • endorsed

    “At a time of growing inequality in the country and stagnation in the Congress we need a champion for the truth and positive reform, and especially one who is as bright and informed as David Wertime”

  • endorsed

    “Go get em”

  • endorsed

  • endorsed

  • endorsed

    “Good luck, David!”

  • endorsed

    “One of the kindest and most thoughtful people I've known. Go, David, go!”

  • endorsed

  • endorsed

    “David will be a great leader for this time. He's built a great business, seen and reported on the world, and all the while been always thinking about the challenges of everyday people. Congress has too few people like David serving.”

  • endorsed

    “David is a passionate advocate for defending those who need help, with the experience and tact to engage those with different views and represent the interests of a diverse community.”

  • endorsed

  • endorsed

  • endorsed

    “I support David Wertime because he has the unique mix of skills, character, intelligence and determination that this country needs in our Congress. Vote for Dave!”

  • endorsed