Interview: Kevin Kelly, Young Philadelphia Republicans

Kevin Kelly at left with for U.S. Congressman Newt Gingrich at a Philadelphia Republican meetup meeting on April 1, 2007.

This evening I sat in on a meeting of the loyal opposition, a group of some in the city’s Republican community who are looking to create a viable GOP in Philadelphia.

The group is led by Kevin Kelly, a former president of the Philadelphia Young Republicans, and a businessman determined to see an active two-party system in the city. He’s developed a meet-up group online and is all for converting Democrats to create competition. Kelly grew a reputation last year by circulating a manifesto of sorts for reviving and reforming the city’s Republican Party [PDF].

After the meeting, a perhaps surprisingly diverse group of 15, including guys like the long-time 5th ward Republican leader Mike Cibik. They were fielding questions from Philadelphia magazine writer Steve Volk and discussing their own positions on the party.

Afterwards, I got to speak to Kevin Kelly alone, and he was largely critical of the complacency into which the city’s GOP had fallen, he said.

“I reward results,” Kelly said. “If you were zero for the last 50 years in any other job in the world, would you still have that job?”

His movement and critique will find a large part in my paper.

Photo courtesy of Philadelphia Republican Meet up Group.

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