In 2005, John Fetterman was elected mayor of Braddock, Pennsylvania— a town that during the 1970s had fallen victim to the same plight affecting the American steel industry. By 2001, Braddock had lost 90 percent of its population, seen its buildings decay, and become notorious for widespread poverty and a high crime-rate. During his tenure as mayor, Fetterman has overseen a series of creative placemaking and community initiatives that have included the creation of public art installations, the first art gallery in the region, the renovation of abandoned buildings to attract urban pioneers, and the establishment of programs such as an organic farm that is worked by local teenagers. These and other initiatives led to his reelection in 2009 and to an unprecedented amount of media attention, including being dubbed America’s “coolest mayor” by London newspaper The Guardian.
Why we love John:
• John Fetterman has overseen a series of artistic initiatives that include the creation of public installations, the first art gallery in the region, a community center, and the renovation of abandoned buildings.
• Fetterman has helped decrease crime and murder rates in Braddock, and gets a tattoo for the victim of every murder that happens under his watch
• He dove head-first into confronting Braddock’s historic decay, addressing the fact that the town has lost 90% of it’s buildings