On Monday, September 14th, John Fetterman, the current mayor of Braddock, Pa., announced his candidacy for the Democratic nomination for U.S. Senate.
This week, The Washington Post catches up with Mayor Fetterman as he kicks off this latest milestone in his political trajectory. In its Post Politics section, writer David Weigel poses nine questions to Fetterman for his article, Meet the 6’8” Rust Belt mayor who wants to become a senator.
The Q&A starts with Fetterman, quite directly, introducing Fetterman: “I do not look like the normal politician,” says the mayor of Braddock, who lives across the street from the operational Edgar Thomson steel mill. “I don’t even look like a normal person.”
Weigel goes on to chronicle a path now familiar to many in and outside of the Mon Valley town of Braddock:
“This is what’s known as ‘leaning into it.’ Fetterman, whose 6 feet and 8 inches carry around 350 pounds, has won a kind of celebrity not just for his work but for his look. He came to Braddock in 2001, fresh from Harvard’s grad school, to set up a GED program in a town that had been gutted by the departure of the steel mills. He stuck around, got elected mayor — dramatically, by a single vote. He tattooed Braddock’s zip code on his arm, and added a new tattoo whenever a constituent was murdered, all of them visible thanks to his regular wardrobe of short-sleeved work shirts. Fetterman became a sort of cultural ambassador of ‘rust,’ at one point co-starring in a Levi’s ad about his city, after his own fame piqued the denim company’s interest.”
Describing the current senate race, Weigel writes: “Fetterman’s announcement adds some more drama to a race that, up to now, has been defined by Democrats convincing former state environment secretary Katie McGinty to run and save them from repeat nominee (and former Rep.) Joe Sestak. It also adds — for want of a better word — character.”
Quoting CNN, Weigel adds that “Voters are already swooning over a Democratic socialist with wild hair.”
Before answering The Post‘s questions, Fetterman shares: “I realize I’m skipping a few places on the game board by running.”
The Q&A covers a range of topics and issues—from unions, the environment, fracking and the nuclear deal with Iran, to immigration, green jobs, Social Security and the legalization of marijuana.