Chris Rabb, who has taught at Temple’s Fox School of Business since 2012, teaches social entrepreneurship and is a Social Impact Fellow at the Innovation and Entrepreneurship Institute. He is also running for State Representative for Pennsylvania’s 200th Legislative District.
In late January, the Temple Association of University Professionals, a democratic union representing the full-time faculty, professional librarians and academic professionals at Temple endorsed Rabb for State Representative.
“[Rabb] has an unique perspective on business and entrepreneurship which I think is likely to be useful in a legislature and job creation,” president of TAUP Arthur Hochner said. “Those kinds of things are what we looked at and what we we’re impressed by.”
Rabb, an alumnus of Yale and the University of Pennsylvania, said it is a “high honor to be endorsed by his peers.” He added that he is running for State Representative to bring a more “progressive voice” to Harrisburg and is willing to work with people from all different ideologies.
“I’m really interested in figuring out how we can avoid future budget stalemates and how we can generate more revenue while embracing tax fairness so that working families and local business aren’t paying an undue amount of taxes, but we also increase revenue so that we can have the types of services that all residents deserve,” Rabb said.
Gov. Tom Wolf and the legislature have yet to pass a state budget, which they have been negotiating since last June.
Rabb spent time under the Bill Clinton administration as a U.S. Senate legislative aide, writer, researcher and trainer at the White House Conference on Small Business.
“Being able to work with different people and being able to have a sense of a range of issues and concerns that business people have is really highly relevant to the work I envision in doing in Harrisburg and for constituents in my district,” Rabb said. “I want to take this to the next level as a public servant to figure out how we can create or improve on existing programs, and tax incentives that will allow people to start or grow business that can actually sustain local communities and not prey on them.”
In addition to his time with the Clinton administration, Rabb’s family has a long history of entrepreneurship. His ancestor “Mad” Jack Rabb opened Rabb’s Meat Market in Mississippi after the Civil War, which was passed down through the generations of his family.
Two of his other ancestors – James William Hughes and John Henry Murphy, Sr. – opened up businesses of their own in Baltimore. Hughes opened up Hughes Catering Company, and Murphy opened The Baltimore Afro-American Newspaper. The newspaper is still a weekly publication.
Hochner added that Rabb’s background, knowledge of labor and enthusiasm make him the right candidate to represent the district.
Rabb’s book, “Invisible Capital: How Unseen Forces Shape Entrepreneurial Opportunity” highlights how policies affect the livelihoods of entrepreneurs or people who start businesses.
“[Rabb] knows the struggles of working people to get their rights,” Hochner said. “[He] knows higher education to some degree from the inside as an adjunct at Temple. … Since he’s a known quantity to us he understands labor and he understands higher education. Those are our two main concerns as a union. It was very easy to endorse him.”
Rabb is currently uncontested for the open seat in Harrisburg. Cherelle Parker, who vacated the seat, was elected to represent the Philadelphia City Council’s Ninth District on Nov. 3, 2015. Residents of the 200th district can cast their ballots on April 26 in the Pennsylvania Primary.
“What I’m doing in my run for State Representative is an extension of what I’ve written about, what I’ve worked on, what I’ve taught; and now I’m trying to take those lessons and expertise and apply it to public policy and public service for the benefit of Philadelphia and Pennsylvania,” Rabb said.
Tom Ignudo can be reached at email@example.com.