Leanne Krueger-Braneky ran for the 161st state house district in 2014 and lost by almost 2,700 votes (2,696 to be exact)(Scala, 6/28/2015). Her Republican rival, the incumbent, won, and was sworn in to his second term in January. In April, however, he announced that he was resigning at the end of the that month. The special election to replace him is next Tuesday, August 4th. She is running again as the Democratic candidate.
The 161st district includes all of Brookhaven, Rose Valley, Rutledge, Swarthmore, and parts of Aston, Marple, Nether Providence, Newtown, Radnor, Ridley, Springfield and Upper Providence. She won Swarthmore by a large margin and won Nether Providence and the district’s part of Springfield by a slim margin. Hacket won in Ridley Township, Aston, Brookhaven, Rutledge and Rose Valley (Logue 11/05/2014). While Democrats have a slight lead in overall county voter registration, in the 161st there are 5,000 more GOP registered voters than Democrats (Scala 6/28/2015). This doesn’t take into account independent voters, those not registered with any particular party.
Krueger-Braneky was praised by the Delaware County Daily Times, although they eventually endorsed Hackett. Regarding the special election Phil Heron wrote “I wish they could just hand her the seat now” (Heron, 4/12/2015). Alas, democracies don’t work that way.
She grew up in New Jersey and did the sensible thing by attending the state university (Logue 10/27/2014). In her first job after college she was the after school specialist for the American Red Cross of the Susquehanna Valley, developing programs and services for children. She was one of three staff people to be granted the Spirit of Excellence Award that year (“Volunteers, 10/24/2000) . After a year or so, she returned to college for a master’s degree in Urban Economic Development from Eastern University. In 2001 she married Rev. David Braneky. Together they led cultural studies trips to South Africa for a year and then settled in the Philadelphia area. She wrote an article on her visits to South Africa and how they changed her thinking on collaboration and sustainable living. She was especially inspired by the way the use of water affected people’s lives (Krueger-Braneky, 2005)
For the next eight years she worked as the executive director of the Sustainable Business Network of Greater Philadelphia, the first person hired for that position. When Krueger-Braneky was hired SBN had fewer than 100 fee-paying members and an annual budget under $100,000. In 2012 membership was 450, with a budget of $500,000 (Mastrull 12/17/2012). Again taking a sensible approach she followed the philosophy that if a sustainable business doesn’t make money it won’t stay in business (Mastrull 5/30/2011). She tackled issues like green infrastructure, stormwater, a city land bank, and supporting small business and the local economy. This involved creating partnerships, persuading elected officials, talking with chambers of commerce, and even working with the White House. These are all skills that a state representative needs.
In 2011 the SBN issued a report on small businesses in Philadelphia and what can be done to help them (http://www.sbnphiladelphia.org/images/SBN_TCB_11_23.pdf), with nine specific issues identified and tangible steps listed for each. A year later a follow up was issued giving the status of each step (Mastrull 11/26/2012). In addition to the land bank, another suggestion that was implemented was a tax credit for sustainable businesses (Mastrull 5/30/2011).
In 2013, after eight years at SBN, she moved to a related national organization, the Business Alliance for Local Living Economies (Logue 10/27/2014). The organization website (www.bealocalist.org) now lists her as Senior Director of Strategy and Development. It includes a long biography listing, among other things, her invitations to speak to the White House Business Council, and her role and Senior Fellow of the Environmental Leadership Program.
She and her husband have one child, a son.
Heron, Philip E. “Letter from the editor: State Rep. Hackett returning to his roots,” Delaware County Daily Times 4/12/2015
Krueger-Braneky, Leanne, “Connected by a glass of water,” In Business 27 #6 (Nov/ Dec 2005) p. 30
Logue, Tim, “Hackett holds on to 161st legislative district post,” Delaware County Daily Times 11/05/2014
Logue, Tim, “Hackett, Krueger-Braneky square off in 161st district,” Delaware County Daily Times 10/27/14
Mastrull, Diane, “City a bit better at helping small firms,” Philadelphia Inquirer 11/26/2012
Mastrull, Diane, “Greening of business – now a decade old, a network that helps small Philadelphia firms thrive while practicing sustainability intends to keep it growing,” Philadelphia Inquirer 5/30/2011
Mastrull, Diane, “Leader of small-business network heads to new challenge,” Philadelphia Inquirer 12/17/2012
Scala, Kristina, “Mullen gets backing in 161st district race,” Delaware County Daily Times 6/28/2015
“Volunteers get Red Cross award,” Lancaster New Era 10/24/2000