At–large councilman–elect Derek Green, a longtime city government operative but first–time elected official, is probably best known for his work as legislative aide to retiring Councilwoman Marian Tasco, but he said he plans on charting his own agenda during his freshman year.
It includes improving schools, creating jobs, improving public safety and bringing more attention to the city’s fiscal responsibilities. Green will join Council newcomers Allan Domb, Helen Gym, Cherelle Parker and Al Taubenberger. He and other public officials, including new mayor Jim Kenney, group will be sworn in on Jan. 4.
“I’ve been fortunate to work in the public sector for Councilwoman Marian Tasco, but I also worked in the city’s law department representing housing and community development, and I learned how the city operates and functions,” Green said. “I also worked with the redevelopment authority, the Philadelphia Industrial Development Cooperation, the commercial development cooperation. I have worked with all of the economic development agencies in the city, so I bring that perspective. Prior to that, I was an assistant district attorney, and prior to that, I was an attorney in Delaware.”
During his time in Tasco’s office, he served as an attorney for the Council committees on finance and public health and human services. Green also worked on the previous campaigns including state Rep. Stephen Kinsey and District Attorney Seth Williams.
“He has a lot of experience. [City Council At-Large] is the natural next step for him to go,” Tasco said. “His legal skills and banking experience were key.”
She added that his drafting of legislation to prevent predatory lending was a highlight of his work.
“I really got a chance to work all around the city and, as a member of the district attorney’s office, I got to visit various police districts as well,” Green said. “Those experiences, prior to the law department and [Tasco] really gave me a chance to develop a network.”
Economic development and education will be at the top of his agenda, Green said. While he has extensive professional experience with the former, its a personal issue which brought his attention to the latter.
“My mother taught in the school district for 30 years; 27 of them at Olney High School, Green said. “I also taught part–time there, and I really saw the challenges and success teachers encounter every day. So when my son was born and diagnosed autistic, we spent time looking for education options. We were able to get an autism support class at Henry H. Houston Elementary. My son is now in the eighth grade, and he’s been there since kindergarten.
“Because of that background, I’m focused not only on how we grow jobs, but also on special–needs children,” he said.
Green is looking forward to bringing his agenda to Council and is interested in what the other freshman members will do as well.
“From my perspective, we do a new group of City Council members coming in, and we each have our own unique perspectives,” he said. “Although I’ve worked for Council or many years, I don’t take it for granted. I spent the summer meeting with every Council member to get their perspectives as well.
“I’ve always been a no–nonsense type of guy, and when you work for Councilwoman Marian Tasco, constituent services are very important, and I will continue to carry that on. As a councilman at–large, I don’t have a specific district, but to me, the entire city is my district. I will work with citizens and bring my years of experience to help get things done.”
He lives in Mount Airy with his wife, Sheila and son, Julian, and is a graduate of the University of Virginia and Temple University School of Law.