Pittsburgh mayor says Catholic upbringing central to his political success

.- The 26-year-old mayor of Pittsburgh says that he would not be in his current position, as a credible and successful civic leader, if it weren’t for his Catholic faith.

“I’m not shy to say it, and I do say it whenever I can,” Luke Ravenstahl told the Pittsburgh Catholic. “I would not be where I’m at without my Catholic upbringing and my Catholic education.”

As president of the city council, Ravenstahl became the Mayor of Pittsburgh Sept. 1 following the death of Mayor Bob O’Connor from primary central nervous system lymphoma.

“The foundation that was instilled in me and my two brothers, both through my family as well as the school and the Church, are something that I use on a daily basis,” Ravenstahl, told the Pittsburgh Catholic.

“I’m proud to be a representative of the Catholic community in the mayor’s office,” he reportedly said.

Ravenstahl said his leadership positions in high school and in college helped him to prepare him for his future political career. He attended Incarnation Academy and North Catholic High School. He and his wife, Erin, are currently active members of Holy Wisdom Parish.

“It may sound simple, it may sound like a cliché or even a politician, but you treat people like you want to be treated. We live that in my family,” he said. And he lives that on the job as well, he added.

“I think I’ve been successful because I’ve been willing — when we’ve sat down and in individual conversations with people — to respect their points of view. You’re not going to agree at all times, but to respect their points of view, and listen and then make a decision,” he told the diocesan newspaper.

Ravenstahl said he never expected to land a mayoral seat at such a young age. He also said it was a difficult position to take up emotionally because the late mayor was his mentor and a good friend.

Ravenstahl was raised in a political family. His grandfather was a state representative, and his father is a district justice.

The Allegheny County Board of Elections ruled Oct. 12 that Ravenstahl will have to run for election in 2007 if he wants to keep his job. The three-member board voted unanimously that the city will hold a mayoral primary May 15, 2007, followed by a general election Nov. 6, 2007.

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