AP NEWS

Convicted former traffic court judge announces bid for Congress

December 29, 2017 GMT

Willie Singletary, a former judge on the Philadelphia Traffic Court, announced he is seeking election in 2018 to represent the 1st Congressional District of Pennsylvania in the U.S. House.

Singletary resigned from the court in 2012 in a sexual harassment scandal after showing a picture of his genitals to a woman working as a court employee.

The following year, he was one of the judges charged in a ticket-fixing scheme believed to benefit him and other close colleagues.

A federal jury found Singletary not guilty of public corruption charges, but he was convicted of lying to federal prosecutors and sentenced to 20 months in prison. He was released in November 2016.

Now, the 36-year-old ordained pastor plans to make a comeback, using a promotional video for his campaign.

“Life wasn’t easy for me. I was met with many, many different challenges. I didn’t grow up in a two-parent household,” Singletary says in the video.

He said his mother struggled with addictions and his father was in and out of prison throughout his life, but that he wouldn’t let his circumstances “hinder his future,” referring to his campaign announcement.

“Even though I’ve made mistakes, I am not a mistake,” Singletary said. “And just like many in our community, we all could use a fresh start.”

Singletary said he plans to focus on empowering communities, “educating and equipping,” ending the “school-to-prison pipeline,” increasing affordable housing and areas such as raising the minimum wage and caring for elderly people.

“I want you to know that we need a fresh start movement that is for education and not incarceration,” Singletary said. “Fresh start is for jobs and not jail. I need a fresh start, Pennsylvania needs a fresh start — let’s have a fresh start together.”