Patrick Dowd is serving his second term as a Member of Pittsburgh City Council representing the neighborhoods of District 7, which include Lawrenceville, Highland Park, Morningside, Stanton Heights, Polish Hill, Bloomfield, East Liberty and Garfield. He is the chairman of the Council’s Committee on Intergovernmental Affairs, which is responsible for legislation dealing with the City, its Authorities, the Pittsburgh Schools, Allegheny County, the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and the federal government.
As a member of Council, Patrick is dedicated to providing the highest quality of constituent services. The hallmark of this effort is Council-to-Go, District 7’s “traveling” office which meets in coffee shops, libraries, church basements, the magistrate’s office and anywhere that people already gather. These meetings offer regular contact with constituents and have led to multiple legislative initiatives. They also offer an excellent opportunity to provide information and venues for meeting city employees. Most importantly, Council-to-Go is a great way to stay connected and accountable to constituents.
As a member of Council, Patrick serves on a number of boards, including the Pittsburgh Water and Sewer Authority, the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh, Riverlife and the Pittsburgh Zoological Society.
As a member of the board of the Pittsburgh Water and Sewer Authority (PWSA), Patrick has advocated vociferously for reinvestment in Pittsburgh’s water and sewer infrastructure. Between 2009 and 2011, PWSA has reinvested nearly $100 million in infrastructure, the largest portion of which went into the water treatment plant. Patrick was the architect of the sewer line insurance program and is also a leading advocate for improved storm water management and the creation of a storm water management utility.
Since being elected in 2007, Patrick has led several exciting projects that have had citywide impacts. In 2011, Patrick co-chaired the Carnegie Library’s Joint Committee for Sustainable Library Funding. This committee helped citizens organize a petition drive that eventually led to a referendum campaign asking voters to increase property taxes and dedicate the proceeds to the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh. At the same time that the Tea Party was denouncing government and taxes, 72% of the citizens of Pittsburgh voted to create a new property tax for their library system. The voters delivered victory at 98% of the voting precincts in the City of Pittsburgh.
In 2010, Patrick helped save the City of Pittsburgh’s pension fund from state take-over. At the time, the Mayor of Pittsburgh proposed selling the City’s parking assets and dissolving the Pittsburgh Parking Authority, turning control of critical public policy organizations over to a private company for 50 years. Patrick was the first outspoken opponent of this plan and helped build a coalition that included the City Controller and eventually seven of nine members of Council. This coalition offered an innovative solution to the pension crisis and continues to work to resolve that legacy problem for the citizens of Pittsburgh.
In 2009, Patrick was one of the founding members of CONNECT, which represents the City of Pittsburgh and its 35 adjacent municipalities. For too long the City and its neighbors had failed to work collaboratively. Since its creation, CONNECT has served as a forum for discussion and debate for these municipal leaders and has fostered a growing sense of shared destiny. Today, CONNECT members are working more collaboratively on day-to-day operational issues like plowing and paving. They are also leveraging their combined economic and political weight to advocate at the state and federal level for improvements in water, sewer, and transportation infrastructure funding.
Prior to his election to Pittsburgh City Council, Patrick served as representative of the Pittsburgh Board of Education. In 2003, after building a grassroots, thousand citizen-plus electoral coalition, he defeated the incumbent Board President in both the Democratic and Republican Party primaries to the surprise of many. A 2003 Pittsburgh Post-Gazette article observed that “Dowd's grass-roots campaign, which attracted residents disenchanted with school board politics, proved that voters can make a difference.”
Patrick’s tenure on the Pittsburgh Board of Education was marked by radical reform that included the hiring of Mark Roosevelt as superintendent, the creation of a major academic reform agenda, the closing of dozens of under utilized schools, the restructuring of the administration and the creation of the Pittsburgh Promise. Patrick was also the primary architect of the superintendent’s accountability contract.
Patrick is 44 years-old and the father of five. He and his wife bought a house in Highland Park in 1998 and have been renovating it ever since. Patrick came to Pittsburgh in 1991 and earned his Doctorate in European Intellectual History at the University of Pittsburgh. Before starting on City Council, Patrick taught history at the high school level.