Young Candidate Spotlight: Matthew Olesh
One in an occasional series highlighting young Philadelphians who are running for office. Young Involved Philadelphia does not endorse any candidate for any office, and this post should not be considered an endorsement of or opposition to any candidate. But we do encourage all young Philadelphians to get more involved civically and politically in their city. To that end, we will occasionally profile young candidates and ask them how and why they decided to get involved.
Name: Matthew Olesh
Running for: Democratic Committee Person for the 30th Ward, 14th Division (Graduate Hospital)
Why Philly? I came here for law school and fell in love with the city. After living my life thinking I would begin my career in New York, I realized that Philadelphia was the perfect city for me. I met my wife at Penn and we decided to settle down here. We are very committed to city living and never want to leave. Philadelphia is a manageable city that offers so much in terms of culture, food, history…I could go on and on.
What do you do? I am a commercial litigator at Fox Rothschild LLP. I handle a wide array of cases, including general business disputes, class actions, and white collar compliance and defense, to name a few. I am fortunate to have a diverse client base that includes some really great local businesses.
In addition, I helped to found and serve as an advisory director for the Friends of Chester Arthur, a non-profit organization that supports Chester A. Arthur School in Graduate Hospital. We basically exist to support the school in any way we can, with the goal of helping strengthen it as a high-quality neighborhood public school for all kids in the catchment.
Why did you decide to run? My wife and I have lived in our house since 2007. Since that time, we have seen such wonderful progress in the neighborhood on so many fronts. I want to help make sure that the positive momentum in the neighborhood continues.
Any advice for other young people considering a run for office? I always like the saying that you should be the change you wish to see. If you are dissatisfied with something or want to help make something better, don’t wait around for someone else to do it – get involved.
What kind of challenges have you faced? Getting on the ballot itself is not a huge challenge, although there are certain rules you need to follow to ensure you do it correctly. Right now, the biggest challenge is trying to connect with as many people in my division as possible. I’d like to know what they think can be better and, if elected, I’d like to do whatever I can do improve upon those things.
What is it like being a young person in Philly politics? So far, so good. Ask me again in a few weeks if I win my race!