Instead of following the steps of family members toward serving as a judge, an area lawyer vies for a position in City Council.
UPDATE: Due to a similar voting base with fellow candidate Barbara Capozzi, Vincent DeFino dropped out of the race March 24. This follows Richard DeMarco withdraw March 21.
"We both has some common friends," DeFino said March 25. Those relationships were important. It was causing a lot of friction. ... We live in the same community. I live two doors over from her place. It was for the better. It was for the good of the community."
Vincent Anthony DeFino comes from a family of lawyers and judges. Among his family ties to the bench include his father — former Common Pleas Judge Anthony J. DeFino — and his sister Common Pleas Judge Rose Marie DeFino-Nastasi. A lawyer himself, the 43-year-old is campaigning for City Council’s 2nd District seat.
The Girard Estate native previously served as R. Seth Williams campaign treasurer and currently is a lawyer at DeFino Law Associates, 2541 S. Broad St., with his brother Michael. The St. Monica, Central High, Temple University and Widener Law School graduate has been practicing law for 18 years.
As one of Anthony and Rose’s eight children, DeFino grew up at 20th and Porter streets, but now resides in Packer Park at 20th and Hartranft streets with wife Nella; his three children, Nicole, Rose Marie and Vincent Jr.; and his 8-month-old puppy Bubba.
He was the former president of the South Philadelphia Business Association and now serves as its vice president and a board member. He also is the South Philadelphia Business Association Scholarship Program chairman, Girard Estate Area Residents counselor and a Sunoco Community Advisors Panel member.
SPR: What made you decide to run for the 2nd District seat?
DeFino: I have one agenda, you, the citizens of the whole 2nd District. Our citizens need an independent voice and a hard-working staff to address all of our constituents’ needs throughout the 2nd District. Our municipal government is broken and needs to be permanently fixed. Take a look at the Sheriff’s Office, the Philadelphia Housing Authority, the Tax Review Board and DROP. We need to end the DROP Program for elected officials. We need to limit the terms of elected officials, especially City Council. The sheriff has been in office for 23 years. Need I say more?
SPR: What is your proudest community-related achievement?
DeFino: Being president, vice president and board member of the South Philadelphia Business Association. We have given out thousands of dollars in scholarships ($11,000 last year) to high school students in South Philadelphia. What makes me most proud is that our scholarship program is truly diversified.
SPR: What is your vision for the 2nd District’s South Philadelphia coverage area?
DeFino: Public safety first then all things follow from there. A safe and clean city is a top priority. As a father of three, my biggest fear is the safety of our children, to make sure they can come and go from school without incident. Also, that our seniors can come and go freely and feel secure in their homes. We must reduce crime by investing in our community groups (community-based prosecution), our playgrounds, gymnasiums and after-school athletics and dance for our children. District Attorney R. Seth Williams and I will work closely with police and the community to ensure the safety of our residents. The creation of business districts has greatly enhanced the cleanliness and safety of our city. We will continue to create new business districts within the 2nd District, adding to the cleanliness and safety of our city. Then we must solicit new businesses to our business-friendly corridor (Stadium District, airport, Navy Yard, Food Distribution Center, etc.) and ensure they hire the residents of the 2nd District. SPR
Damon K. Roberts has been practicing law for more than a decade at his Center City-based real estate and land use law firm, Damon K. Roberts & Associates.
A resident of the 3100 block of South Broad Street near the sports complex, Richard DeMarco has experience working for the people of the 2nd Council District.
Elected last year to his second term in the General Assembly, State Rep. Kenyatta Johnson has decided to try to exchange his seat at the State Capitol for one in City Hall’s Council Chambers.
Currently leading Packer Park as the Packer Park Civic Association president, Barbara Capozzi has been assisting her neighbors since 1994. The resident of the 1900 block of Hartranft Street has announced her intention to run for the 2nd District seat in City Council that will be vacated by Council President Anna Verna.