PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — This year the only candidate for mayor of Pittsburgh who has never held elective office is A.J. Richardson — who was working out on a treadmill at the Exercise Warehouse in Bloomfield being interviewed by a young reporter from the Pitt News.
“Five-point-five (mph). Let’s go,” Richardson exhorted his young colleague.
Richardson is proud to be different from the other three candidates — Bill Peduto, Jack Wagner and Jake Wheatley — in the race.
“I’m not a politician. I’m not charismatic. I don’t kiss babies or shake hands — that’s not me,” Richardson told KDKA political editor Jon Delano.
“You see where I am,” he continued. “I’m at a gym, working out. We need leadership that is fit — that is going to serve the constituents that they’re sworn to serve — and that’s A. J. Richardson.”
Married for 16 years with three boys, Richardson praises his wife.
“My wife — she’s a strong woman,” he said. “She’s my driving force. Second to God, it’s my family that keeps me motivated. That’s my team,” he says.
And the community minister and man of faith preaches personal responsibility.
“Totally,” he says. “I’m a big advocate for that. It’s unfortunate a lot of people are in the habit of pushing blame.”
Richardson says as mayor, he’s best able to represent hard-working Pittsburghers.
“The die-hard Steelers fan, the working man, the school teacher, the cafeteria worker — these are average folks who are exceptional and they need to be celebrated,” he adds.
As for his facial tattoos, he notes, “People think these are tattoos but actuality this is war paint.”
“We’re are in the middle of a war right now, not in another country, but right here in the city of Pittsburgh — a war against crime, drugs, etc, etc. I’m on the front line.”
And don’t tell this self-styled warrior he cannot out-poll the others.
“I’m not an underdog,” he said. “I’m the only choice for the city of Pittsburgh — A. J. Richardson.”