At a recent forum for the Democratic candidates for the 4th U.S. District, WHYY reporter Tracey Matisak, candidate Joe Hoeffel, forum organizer and Social Justice Group head Ellen Stevenson, candidate Shira Goodman and candidate Madeleine Dean. (Photo by Barbara Sherf)

by Maddie Clark

The Pennsylvania Supreme Court’s decision to redistrict the state’s Congressional districts has created a lot of new opportunities for aspiring congressmen and women. This is particularly the case for the newly drawn 4th District that covers Montgomery County.

The county had previously been split between four heavily gerrymandered districts, leaving county residents without a single Congressperson representing them. The new 4th was drawn to correct that inequity.

Republican Dan David is running unopposed for the district on the Republican side, but three Democrats are facing off in the May 15 primary. With voter registration and recent results in the county suggesting a Democratic advantage, the winner on May 15 is favored to win the seat.

Here are the candidates:

Shira Goodman

Goodman, 47, is a first-time candidate and a graduate of Yale Law School. She was previously the executive of CeaseFire PA, a statewide organization dedicated to taking a stand against gun violence.

Goodman has said that if she wins, she hopes to promote balance and structure within the 4th District to ensure that changes to the district maps are implemented, and that Montgomery county doesn’t again become divided and gerrymandered.

Although gun control is front and center of her campaign, it is not her only issue. Goodman supports universal healthcare, guarantees for women’s reproductive rights and strong anti-discriminatory policies to protect racial and sexual minorities.

See for more information.

Madeleine Dean

Dean, 58, is a Glenside native and lifelong parishioner of St. Luke the Evangelist Church. In her previous life, Dean was a lawyer as well as a college professor at La Salle University, also one of her alma maters. She is currently a state representative in Pennsylvania’s 153rd District.

At age 19, Dean was a volunteer for Joe Hoeffel’s re-election campaign for the state legislature, the seat she currently holds. Now, more than 40 years later, Hoeffel is one of Dean’s competitors for the seat in the 4th Congressional District.

Dean’s key platforms include public education, combating addiction, equal rights, access to healthcare, ethics, criminal justice reform and gun violence.

Dean was also just recently endorsed by the Philadelphia Inquirer in an article published on May 2.

For more information, see

Joe Hoeffel

Last up is Joseph Hoeffel, 68, the former U.S. Congressman from Montgomery County. From 1999 to 2004, Hoeffel represented the state’s 13th District for three terms before ultimately entering the race for and losing a U.S. Senate race against late Sen. Arlen Specter. Hoeffel also lost a bid for governor in 2010.

During Hoeffel’s break from politics, he has taught at Temple University and written two books, the latest being “Fighting for the Progressive Center in the Age of Trump.”

According to Hoeffel’s campaign website, he is an advocate for stronger gun control laws, favors a $15 minimum wage and a “Medicare for all” healthcare system.

For more information see: