T. Milton Street, 71, is rested and ready for action. The former state legislator and brother to former Mayor John Street says he plans to challenge Mayor Nutter in the May 17 Democratic primary election. Street, sentenced in 2008 to 30 months in federal prison for tax evasion, was released to a halfway house in June and then to supervised release in November.
Street said his time behind bars made him better aware of the issues offenders face. He estimates that there are 300,000 ex-offenders in the city of Philadelphia and he hopes to use them as a political army to confront issues like crime, unemployment and poverty.
"I'm going to deal with those issues," Street said today. "They deserve to be discussed. They have to be on the front-line. They're basically being ignored."
A spokeswoman for Nutter's re-election campaign declined to comment today on Street's announcement.
Street said he will use cell phone texts to mobilize his army of ex-offenders, a tactic he says that will be "so much cheaper" than raising campaign funds to air television ads.
"My hope is to organize those ex-offenders and let them know that they have to be a viable part of the electoral process," he said. "What I found out in prison is all these offenders and their families, while they may not have a computer, they have cell phones. And they text. That's all young people do is text, text, text."
There is one person Street won't be texting about his plans -- his brother. Street said it would be "grossly unfair" to his brother to try to get the former mayor involved in his plans.
Street's last shot at elected office came in 2007, when he finished 17th out of 19 candidates in a failed Democratic primary bid for a City Council At-Large seat. Street said he is living with family in the Mayfair section of Northeast Philadelphia since leaving the halfway house.