Michael has been a resident of the West Mt. Airy section of Philadelphia since 1989, 26 years at his current address. His community is important to him.
In Philadelphia, two Democrats and two Republicans are elected in each voting division or precinct by neighbors registered in the particular party to serve four year terms as committee people. The greater neighborhood is a ward composed of the committee people from the divisions within the ward. The job description is voter registration, turnout and engagement and if, desired, involved in community issues.
Michael was appointed to fill a vacancy in the 22nd Ward, 6th Division in 2016, then was elected with long-time CP Maurice Sampson II in 2018 and 2022. In 2022, Michael received the third most votes of any committee person in the ward. There are few teams that are as close-knit, complementary, communicative, strategic and successful as Sampson-Kleiner. They are the only African-American-white team in the ward.
Michael handles the data and communications end. He analyzes the turnout and tracks where there are unregistered voters. His email communications have morphed into an electronic newsletter that has an over 50% open rate. Michael's candidate recommendations include information about the candidates and why he is recommending them. The community looks forward to receiving this information and are seen at the polls carrying our ballot. Our recommended candidates are winning in our division. The trust the neighbors have in Sampson-Kleiner is also built on their involvement and assistance in community issues.
In the crucial 2020 general election, amidst the pandemic and the introduction of mail ballots in Pennsylvania, Michael kept his constituents informed of any changes and other info, resulting in over 500 vote-by-mail ballots in the division and overall 90% turnout! There were blocks that had 100% participation. And Joe Biden won Pennsylvania. Ninety percent of the division is registered. Some divisions don’t have 500 registered voters.
This was an extension of his long-time interest in politics, dating to when he was a youngster. He has been involved in numerous campaigns since he was a teenager. Michael grew up next door to the long-time committee man in their division, who the Democratic Party had sent there in 1948 to flip it from Republican. He got Michael involved as a poll worker and Michael served as Machine Inspector, Majority Inspector and Judge of Elections.
In 2019, Michael managed the PR, website and campaign of City Commissioner candidate Carla Cain. Ms. Cain received two endorsements in a crowded race.
He is on the Steering Committee of the 22nd Ward Open Caucus, a group of independent Democratic committee people and residents.
Maurice Sampson II, fellow committee person, 22-6