biography

Mary Ellen Balchunis for Congress

Meet Mary Ellen

Political Science professor, Fulbright Scholar, and former assistant to Philadelphia mayor; single mom and proud parent of Lauren, a senior at USC; former parental caregiver; sister; feminist; Million Mom Marcher; union supporter; first generation college graduate; County and State Democratic party officer; former nonprofit director; mom of Pooka and rescuer of Dandy; education advocate; Catholic school alum; human trafficking activist; MSNBC junkie; Clinton '92 and '96 delegate; Obama '12 delegate; 6-time DNC attendee.

WHY AM I RUNNING?

As a political science professor, I teach "we the people, for the people" but now government is "by the rich, for the rich."

I grew up here in Pennsylvania's 7th Congressional District and raised my daughter, Lauren, here as well. I come from a strong middle class background with two great brothers; my dad worked at the Atlantic Richfield Refinery and my mom worked at Strawbridge Clothier--and I was the first person to graduate college in my family.

During those college years, I worked three jobs as a full-time student to afford tuition, so I'm passionate about access to quality higher education for all. I'm running for Congress to make sure the next generation of Americans has the same opportunities to pursue their dreams, and the chance to make that possible.

As the proud mom of a bright young woman in her junior year of college, as well as a political science professor who sees scores of young men and women each semester, the epidemic of violence and sexual assaults on campuses nationwide hits far too close to home. In Washington, I want to lend my voice to the effort to effectively change campus culture in a way that protects young women and preserves every student's right to a safe environment and complete education.

These efforts extend to common sense gun control, whether it's supporting universal background checks or working to eliminate straw purchases and the "gun show loophole."

Before her death in 2014, I was the caregiver for my elderly mother, and I know firsthand the importance of preserving Medicare and expanding Social Security. Programs like these allow our country's older generations to live in dignity and without fear, and I will be a staunch advocate for them in Congress.

Unfortunately, the Pennsylvania Congressional delegation is made up of 20 men and no women, giving the women of Pennsylvania no elected women to fight for equal pay, increased access to quality healthcare, or expanded protections in the military and on college campuses. I will be a strong supporter of the Paycheck Fairness Act and the Military Justice Improvement Act, and will fight for continuing improvements to the Affordable Care Act.

COMMUNITY SERVICE

  • Pennsylvania Democratic State Committee
  • Dawn’s Place, a home for Sexually Trafficked Women (Board of Directors)
  • Vice Chair, Delaware County Democrats
  • American Society for Public Administration (National Board and Executive Committee)
  • National Chair, Campaign for Public Service
  • Philadelphia Corporation for Aging (Board of Directors)
  • United Cerebral Palsy Association (Board of Directors)
  • PHILADANCO: Philadelphia Dance Company (Board of Directors)
  • League of Women Voters (Board of Directors)

EXPERIENCE

  • Political Science Professor, La Salle University
  • Executive Director, The Resource Center for Human Services
  • Assistant to the Mayor, City of Philadelphia

 

EDUCATION

  • Ph.D., Political Science, Temple University
  • Masters of Public Administration, Temple University
  • B.A., Sociology, University of Pennsylvania

 

 

awards

  • Fulbright Scholar, Mass Media & Politics, Sweden
  • National President’s Citation of Merit for Advancing Excellence in Public Service,
  • Howard Goodfriend Award for Public Service, Temple University
  • American Society for Public Administration