Two Senate hopefuls are battling to fill a seat vacated by the retiring incumbent in Pennsylvania: Lieutenant Governor John Fetterman, the tattooed former mayor of Braddock, PA, and Dr. Mehmet Oz, a Turkish-American television presenter and retired surgeon who shot to fame through his regular appearances on “Oprah”.
In the mid-1990s, John Fetterman had a job at one of the world’s top insurance firms and looked set for a successful career in the sector like his father.
But Fetterman resigned to become a social worker in Pittsburgh, in part inspired by his experience with the Big Brothers Big Sisters program as a longtime mentor to an 8-year-old boy who was losing both parents to AIDS. Years earlier, his best friend had been killed in a car crash at 27, an event Fetterman has often cited as being formative.
He went on to join the AmeriCorps volunteer service before going back to school to earn a master’s degree in public policy from Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government.
In 2001 he began helping high-school dropouts and at-risk youth in Braddock. Encouraged by his students, he ran for mayor in 2005 – winning by a single vote. Over the next 13 years as mayor he focused on rebuilding the town and community, from tackling inequality to creating jobs to establishing urban gardens on abandoned properties.
After an unsuccessful initial Senate run in 2016 he ran to be his state’s lieutenant governor, winning the post in 2018.
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