Linking appropriate commercial development to job creation is the number one priority for Malik Boyd, who is asking Democratic voters in the 198th Legislative District to put him on the fall ticket.
“We have 28 percent unemployment in the district,” he said. “We have a lot of development coming in from a residential standpoint … the trick is to get someone who can pull on the heart strings and purse strings of the corporate world and get them to invest.”
Providing jobs, he said, will help stave off gentrification taking place in much of the district.
Already Boyd, who is running against Democratic incumbent state Rep. Rosita Youngblood, has been involved in bringing about $19 million in new development to the district which will help generate 180 new jobs, he said.
Perhaps most notably, the 34-year-old opposed Youngblood in her stand against plans for a Sav-A-Lot and dollar store at Chelten Plaza at Pulaski and Chelten avenues in Germantown. Youngblood sided with residents who wanted to see the developer’s original plans for a Fresh Grocer carried out.
Boyd supported the new plans, citing the need for development more in line with what area residents could afford.
The incident displayed the difference in approach between Youngblood and himself, Boyd said.
“We could bring a Whole Foods and some of these other super high-end stores in and would be good for affluent individuals, but at the end of the day, hardworking individuals in our district need local businesses that won’t place them out of their lifestyle range,” he said.
Boyd has a history of community involvement serving with organizations like Youth Services, Inc., Allens Lane Art Center and Nationalities Services Center.
His community activism has given him deep roots in the community, and he hopes will serve as a springboard to office.
Though he’s never held public office before, Boyd said he’s long been politically active, noting he is president of the Philadelphia Young Democrats, and has been a member of the group since 2009.
He faces two challenges in his run against Youngblood — her incumbency, and a new statewide voter ID law that has many voters and potential voters confused.
He insists he’s undaunted in his challenge to Youngblood, who has held the seat for 18 years.
“I’ve been on the ground campaigning since 2010,” he said. “The district is suffering from so much voter apathy. Voters are so frustrated.”
Youngblood launched a legal challenge to Boyd’s petitions, a fairly routine fact of political life in Philadelphia — but he survived and remains on the ballot.
That fact has helped his campaign maintain and increase its momentum, Boyd said.
“The community has really, really been galvanized in the fact that we’re not backing down. We’re not taking deals. We’re not going to sell out. We’re going to stand here and fight,” he said.
As for confusion over the voter ID bill, Boyd again remains confident.
“The biggest thing for us is that we’re out knocking on doors. We’re not just talking about our campaign, but we’re talking about voter ID — what’s truth and what’s not,” he said.
Boyd, who owns his own marketing firm, Premiere Brand, is a graduate of Germantown High School and attended Temple University. He has a degree in marketing and is the father to two daughters. He lives in Germantown.