The party seemed like an afterthought, the race a foregone conclusion, but Chaka Fattah was still excited to have won his third term in Congress representing an area that includes West Philadelphia. "I am grateful for the overwhelming support my constituents gave me," the Democrat said last night at the Adam's Mark Hotel on City Avenue. "Now I've got to focus on dealing with all the issues that the district and nation still face." About 15 of Fattah's family members, close supporters and staffers gathered in a hotel suite to celebrate his landslide victory in the 2nd Congressional District over Republican challenger Anne Marie Mulligan. The results came as no surprise to the 41-year-old Fattah and his supporters, who have known for months that he would be heading back to Washington for another two years. Fattah, a 1986 graduate of Penn's Fels Center of Government, won 86 percent of the vote to Mulligan's 14 percent with 96 percent of precincts reporting. The virtually unknown Mulligan, an immigration lawyer who had great difficulty raising money, never posed a serious threat to Fattah. Mulligan and her supporters gathered at Billy Murphy's Irish pub in North Philadelphia last night. They said they were content that they had expressed their political opinions in the race. "It's important for every candidate to have opposition," said Mulligan, 35. "That's the lifeblood of our democracy." Fattah's supporters said they were extremely pleased with the congressman's performance so far. "He has done a fabulous job," Rosetta Smith said. "He's taken a very personal interest in education and done an active job in securing money for it." Fattah had a successful second term in office. The former state legislator secured the passage of his $140 million High Hopes/21st Century Scholarship bill, which will encourage sixth graders to go on to college by assuring them of the availability of financial aid. "The scholarship program is definitely my biggest accomplishment as a congressman," Fattah said. "But it's early in my career, and I plan to do a lot more." Fattah intends to introduce major legislation in the next term that would mandate equity in spending on students between school districts in the same state. "In the majority of our states, there is a very different level of investment on a per-pupil basis," Fattah said. "To then say that every student has had the same opportunities in their schooling is untrue." The congressman also plans to introduce legislation to change the system for allocating federal summer jobs and to encourage profit sharing in companies by offering federal procurement incentives. Although Fattah faced minimal opposition at home, he has been very active during the election season. He gave much of the $300,000 he raised to other candidates, spent time campaigning for other Democrats and spoke in California about the importance of education issues. "In these types of campaigns it is very important to help other candidates that share your views," Fattah said. Daily Pennsylvanian staff writer Ari Alexander contributed to this article.Comments powered by Disqus
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