Republican David Oh served for three terms as an At-Large member of Philadelphia City Council before resigning from Council to join the Mayor’s race in February 2023. As the only Republican running for mayor so far, Oh is more than likely to make it past the May 16 primary and onto the ballot in November. He is also the most qualified Republican to run for Mayor in this overwhelmingly Democratic city in several election cycles.
Oh graduated from Rutgers University Law School before joining City service as an assistant to Philadelphia District Attorney (1985 to 1988) under DAs Ed Rendell and Ronald Castille. Oh served in the Army National Guard from 1989 until 1992, when he returned to Philadelphia to open a law firm. After two unsuccessful runs for City Council, in 2012, he became the first Asian (Korean) American to join the body. There, he chaired the Global Opportunities and Creative Innovative Economy Committees. The 62-year-old father of four lives with his family in the Cobbs Creek section of Southwest Philadelphia.
Oh told the Committee of Seventy that his highest priorities, should he become the first Republican to take City Hall’s top job in 70 years, are to “make Philadelphia safe, create good jobs and provide quality schools in every neighborhood.” He has also proclaimed himself a law and order candidate, recently declaring policing as the best deterrent to crime. (He’d previously told the Citizen the best crime preventer was good schools.)
Here’s what else we know about David Oh
- HE CREATED A VETERANS TAX CREDIT for employers who hire returning
veterans, authored a bill to increase women’s breastfeeding rights in the workplace, and helped wrangle more money for firefighters.
- HIS LEGISLATIVE SUCCESS HAS BEEN LIMITED. For example, some of Oh’s most significant bills — auditing the Philadelphia Parking Authority, lowering taxes, eliminating the soda tax, and restricting … Covid restrictions — all languished without a vote from the whole body.
- JUST BEFORE RESIGNING, CITY COUNCIL REJECTED Oh’s bill to create “minimum force training” for police because: 1. It linked police reform to rising crime 2. Council does not have authority to make changes to the police department.
- HE BLAMES EDUCATIONAL INEQUITIES ON “politics and contracts and unions and vendors.”
- HE HAS BEEN ACCUSED OF COMMANDEERING COUNCIL for hearings related to issues he himself is facing — as when he put the city’s child welfare system under inspection after he was falsely accused of child abuse when his son was injured in a martial arts lesson.
- HE IS PASSIONATE ABOUT VETERANS AND FIRST RESPONDERS.
- HOWEVER, IN 2011, HE LIED ABOUT HIS MILITARY RECORD in his campaign for Council, saying he’d been an officer in an Army Special Forces Unit and a Green Beret. He was neither.
- IN 2017, HE WAS ROBBED AND STABBED outside his Southwest Philly home. The man he accused was acquitted in 2018.
Press coverage of David Oh
- The Pennsylvania Capital Star reports on Oh’s thwarted efforts to seek support for his minimum force bill.
- WHYY lays out Oh’s 2022 introduction of a bill to repeal the soda tax.
- Billy Penn reports that Oh stabbed outside his Cobbs Creek home in 2017.
- Charles R. Ellison responds to the reaction in City Hall to Oh’s stabbing in The Philadelphia Citizen.
- Oh resigns to run for mayor, lays out priorities, reports The Philadelphia Inquirer.
More ways to learn about David Oh
From David Oh’s campaign website.
From Oh’s social media accounts: Twitter, Facebook, Instagram.
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