Manuel (Manny) Guzman is a first-generation Latino who comes from a working-class family. Before reuniting with his father during later years, Manny’s mother Peggy, was a single mother of 5 kids struggling to make ends meet. Peggy did the best she could to provide for Manny and his siblings, but there was never enough money to cover mounting bills and medical expenses. Sometimes the electricity was cut off, at other times the water. But the family persisted and finally persevered. These struggles have stayed with Manny his entire life, and is the fuel that powers his passion to help working-class families climb out of poverty. He knew from an early age that his calling in life was service to others.
While away at college at Kutztown University, Manny became involved in then Sen. Barack Obama’s Presidential campaign. It is during this campaign where Manny learn the ropes as a organizer, and started working towards his dream of becoming a political organizer. Throughout his time at KU, Manny was also actively involved with the Student Government Association, and University Senate. In both roles, he became an advocate against rising tuition costs, and for increasing academic standards.
After getting back home from college, Manny recognized the need for leadership within his community. It was at this point when he decided that in order to be the change he wished to see, he needed to step up to the plate and run for office himself. In 2013, the Reading community elected him to the Reading School Board.
Manny’s journey has lead him to where we are today. As he announces his intentions to challenge a long-term incumbent, Manny, is confident that a new chapter can be written for the City of Reading. He is running for State Representative because he believes that Reading deserves a champion in Harrisburg that will speak truth to power. He wants to be a much-needed champion that fights for and ensured that women are paid equally to men. Why? Because he vividly remembers his mother struggling to make ends meet, and could not understand then that a system that refuses to pay women equally to men; is a system that allows women to suffer in poverty, to suffer homelessness, and finally to be abused.
Manny knows he can be in champion in Harrisburg for increasing the minimum wage. Why? Because he believes that no full-time working person should have to live in poverty. In places like Reading, an increase of the minimum wage can have a drastic impact on the local economy, and provide a much-needed spark to our community. Ensuring that workers are provided a living wage, will go a long way to stabilizing neighborhoods like Reading.
Finally, but certainty not least, Manny will be a champion in ending the system of mass incarceration that plagues our state. The State of Pennsylvania has the 7th largest inmate population in the country; it also spends $2billion per year on propping up a system that divides families all across the commonwealth. This vicious system separates families, and leaves communities of color vacant of male leadership. We can, and must do better.
The road Manny has travelled on has brought us to this monumental moment in history. We can continue to allow career politicians to represent our communities on face-value. Or we can change course, and plot a new destination for Reading, and the rest of the Commonwealth. Team Guzman believes that we can shock the political establishment, and with your help—we surly will.
Our Time is now.