How my father headed to Harrisburg

By David Delloso

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Rep. Dave Delloso (PA-162) on set for a commercial shoot in Ridley Park, Pa. Photo courtesy of Dave Delloso

 

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Dave Delloso speaks with constituents in Ridley Park. Photo courtesy of Dave Delloso

My father, born and raised in Delaware County, is what many have refer to as a ‘pure bred’ Delconian.

Being a former resident of Sharon Hill, my father is built tough and has more grit than any man I have met.

When he decided to be a voice for our people, our family and community supported him in his new endeavor.

He decided to run for our newly vacated House of Representative seat in the 162 district of Pennsylvania.

What followed for the next few months of campaigning was truly the most invigorating and demonizing process.

Following his announcement, my father’s campaign immediately consumed all of his time. It started with trying to qualify for candidacy, which is done through canvasing, a practice of going door-to-door and gathering signatures from citizen members.

He needed to gather 300 signatures over a very short amount of time, three weeks.

Often, my father would recieve help from our close family friends and word of mouth.

The task seemed daunting and highly unlikely, considering the Republican machine in our neighborhood.

Almost miraculously, he cleared 933 constituent signatures over three weeks.

However, his stress level during the campaign was incomparable to anything I had ever seen.

Often, my father would confide in me to clear his head through long conversations, playing billiards or working on the old Chevy and Jeep.

May 15, 2018 was a day I will not forget. Typically, my father is very stoic. He shows emotion when needed, but is often reserved.

That day, my father smiled like a child, speaking with every person he saw. He won the primary nomination for the Democratic candidacy for State Representative in the 162nd District of Pennsylvania, his hometown.

But, the next five months told a strenuous tale.

Although unopposed in the primary within his own party, the local Republicans wrote in Mary Hopper, former Delaware County Sheriff.

Suddenly, it went from a win to a race overnight.

I had no idea how mentally and physically exhausted my father could be. He is a rock solid individual, yet some nights I would encounter him seemingly broken at 3 a.m. on our living room couch.

He would sit straight up, face in the palms of his hands, motionless. This angered me, but also terrified me, so I would let him be and make my way upstairs.

Most times, my father is inconsolable. It is his own strength he wants to find, not reinforcement from others. I respect him for this greatly.

His hard work on the campaign trail came about with a great group of volunteers, a more than phenomenal campaign manager, and my dads own drive to serve his friends in the big house.

My father was never shy to vocalize his concerns for the campaigns hardships.

A Republican mailer contained an image of my father, photoshopped, holding a stack of cash. The smear-campaign conveyed my father boasting that he claimed a 343 percent pay increase, netting him over $1 million.

The outlandish attempts to skew voters from my father were mediocre at best and had little success.

Throughout my father’s campaign, he and his constituents who viewed the mailer joked, questioning why a millionaire would reside in such a small town and even asked for a share of his wealth.

Despite his stern persona, my father can be tremendously funny, and the ad became the butt of many jokes.

Needless to say, the slanderous mail failed. My father fought the better fight, rode a wave of decency and had the backing of his people to be victorious by a margin of 1.5 points.

In his victory, my father remained, as anticipated, composed. He held his zen at the after polling party at Haggerty’s bar in Holmes. When he arrived, you would have just thought he was a guy catching a drink on any other Tuesday night.

Surrounded by his family, campaign organizers, local union brothers and even a few of my good friends, my father gave a speech, short in nature as usual. He thanked everyone who believed in him to be a voice that they have not had in Harrisburg.

At home that night, I caught him sitting on the living room ouch again. Only this time, the silence was different. I sensed he felt at ease and secure with his victory.

As he told many who asked about his chances of winning, he repeated the same mantra: he had never lost an election in his life.

Whether it was his fifth grade Student Council, his candidacy for the union presidency and, now, a seat in our states capitol.

With his new job, he is taking his best efforts and ability with him. It is a well deserved victory for the man who has taught me to be gracious with every move, even victory.

Contact David Delloso at communitarian@mail.dccc.edu