John Fetterman Unleashed: “I’ve Already Been Dead Once” John Fetterman, the current Lieutenant Governor of Pennsylvania, captured the attention of many when he gave a powerful speech to open the Democratic National Convention. His speech was reflective of his past, but forward-thinking, as he shared his personal story of growing up in an industrial town with poverty and empty storefronts, pointers that he had already experienced and seen death once, and a mission and call to action to ensure that these same challenges will never be endured by future generations. Fetterman, who has been the mayor of Braddock, Pennsylvania for 12 years, had a challenging childhood growing up in an Irish-Catholic working class family. He worked odd jobs to pay his way through college and then transferred to Albright College to finish his undergraduate degree. He later went to get his MBA from Carnegie Mellon. In 2005, John Fetterman ran for mayor of Braddock on the simple platform that he wanted to save the city from economic decline and destruction. He knew he had almost zero chance of winning, but decided to jump in and take on the challenge anyway. It wasn’t easy for Fetterman, who saw the entire town almost shut down, and manage to keep it above water all these years. He faced challenges from the steel industry, which was one of the town’s main sources of employment, crumbling infrastructure, drugs adding to the poverty crisis, and social challenges of homelessness and joblessness. To save the town, Fetterman looked to technology and began to take pride in the town’s appearance, hiring a graffiti artist to paint inspirational murals and revitalizing the infrastructure, so the town residents would be proud of their town. He also worked with local businesses to make sure people could find jobs and he even created a co-working space to provide more employment opportunities. However, one of the most interesting stories from Fetterman himself is of his almost-death experience. As he was walking in the town one winter night, he tripped into an empty factory and suffered an injury so bad that he almost died. This kind of experience has made him even more determined to be the change for his hometown. As Fetterman stepped onto the stage of the Democratic National Convention, he spoke to the crowd, saying “I’ve already been dead once, and trust me, nobody wants to go there.” His story was an inspirational one—one of resilience, education, perseverance, and work ethic. John Fetterman’s powerful speech shouted out the importance of citizens and their role in politics, encouraging the audience to take action and to never be afraid of taking on battles bigger than one’s self. He left the DNC as an example of how an individual can rise above and challenge the odds, no matter where one comes from. An inspiration for many.