Meet Alexandra Hunt, public health champion turned Dwight Evans challenger in 2022
Hunt’s progressive agenda includes medicare for all, criminal justice reform, tuition-free public college, and racial and economic justice, and more.
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In next month’s Democratic primary election for Pennsylvania’s 3rd U.S. House District, residents will be able to vote for one of four candidates: incumbent Dwight Evans, Michael Cogbill, Alexandra Hunt, or Melvin Price.
Alexandra Hunt, the 28-year-old public health researcher and former sex worker, is running on a progressive platform and hoping to replace Evans in November’s general election.
Hunt’s twin brother has a learning disability, and growing up she witnessed firsthand the systemic obstacles he faced and this motivated her to become an advocate for all Philadelphians, regardless of their race, gender, class, or ability.
In an interview with AL DÍA, Hunt shared her long-winded story of ending up in the political arena, and more about the issues she is running on.
Hunt began her academic career at the University of Richmond and graduated in three years to save money. She then went straight to Drexel University to study medicine.
At first, Hunt’s big dream was to become a physician. When she went on medical trips to places such as Ghana and Ecuador, she witnessed jarring health disparities, and these experiences brought her down the path of public health.
Hunt began working at Fox Chase Cancer Center in their clinical research department, and took part-time classes at Temple University to get her master’s in public health.
Throughout her academic and professional career, Hunt would repeatedly run into policy failure, particularly during the pandemic.
Being in the public health sector, I have seen, first-hand, how our for-profit health care system pummels families through Philadelphia and the United States.— Alexandra M. Hunt (@ahunt4congress) April 4, 2022
I will fight to make sure health care is treated as a human right.
Fight with us: https://t.co/YWyM3ekQ8c
“When the pandemic first struck, and the government failed to come to the people’s aid, I just saw all around me: policy failure. And then a lack of support on the ground and people really struggling, people really suffering. And people were really scared with a lack of leadership,” Hunt said.
Hunt never envisioned herself running for office, and said that even now when someone googles her name and she comes up as a politician, it still makes her cringe.
“But I am someone who really wants to make a change and to see the world operate in a way that’s better for everyday people,” she said.
While Hunt was studying psychology and biology at the University of Richmond, she received financial aid, but she still needed to fill in the gaps financially.
During that time she had a few different jobs, she worked as a server, as a salesperson at Victoria’s Secret, and as a stripper.
Rather than shy away from this part of her past, Hunt decided to de-stigmatize the sex work industry by openly and unapologetically talking about her experiences.
As part of her campaign fundraising efforts, Hunt sells shirts that read “Elect Hoes,” and “I May Have Danced For Money But I’m No Corporate Whore.”
Although this is an empowering decision, Hunt has lost contact with certain people who couldn’t accept this part of her past, which was difficult for her to make peace with. But Hunt continued to move forward and focus on the bigger issues at stake.
“I think sometimes I poke fun at it and try to find the humor in it and try to find the light. But sometimes that’s just how you can survive something difficult when you’re up against a big stigma,” Hunt said.
In the future, Hunt does worry about what will happen after the election, knowing that her past work in this industry will be a “mark on her record” for the rest of her life.
But she plans to do everything possible to make sure that it’s just a piece of her past, and intends to speak to the sex worker community to understand their needs.
Strippers, their rights, and their jobs should not be sacrificed because of personal discomfort with sexuality or sex work.— Alexandra M. Hunt (@ahunt4congress) April 5, 2022
What Hunts wants her potential supporters and future constituents to know about sex workers is that they are just regular people trying their best to make ends meet.
Housing, childcare, education, and healthcare are all very expensive, and yet Pennsylvania’s minimum wage hasn’t budged since 2008.
“We’re in a different day and age where people are needing to get by, and this is one of the ways to do that. There’s no shame. And one of our transferable skills is raising money, and that’s been demonstrated. Our campaign has really surprised people with our strength in fundraising. That’s a skill that comes from sex work,” Hunt said.
Hunt is very active on Twitter, Instagram and TikTok and she contributes some of her success to her social media literacy.
One of her TikTok videos in which she shared her own abortion story and how important it is to fight for bodily autonomy, received over 11,000 likes.
“I keep bumping into people as I’m out walking my dog or walking from place to place and they’re like ‘Oh I know you you are,’ and it’s because they’ve seen me on TikTok. It’s a very easy way to reach people and give people insight into what goes on in the campaign world as well as my policy platform,” Hunt said.
Hunt is running on several crucial issues, including medicare for all, criminal justice reform, tuition-free public college, and racial and economic justice.
Hunt previously worked as an emergency medical technician (EMT) and she used to work at a homeless encampment that formed on JFK Boulevard.
Hunt advocates for more funding towards crisis responders and less funding for police, who often cannot properly de-escalate situations or handle mental health episodes.
“I’m absolutely pushing for that as a means of public safety. You have to go to the root causes of violence. One of the most alarming statistics is that 17% of youth in Philadelphia from the age of 16 to 24 are not in school and are not at work. That’s an absurdly high number,” Hunt said.
She sees the opportunity to prevent violence through more investments in the public education system and affordable housing and in ensuring that health care centers “people and not profit.”
Hunt’s team recently updated its campaign website with a Black American Agenda, which is calling for a re-installation of the Office of Freedmen Affairs, which was created to handle the well-being of Black Americans who are descended from slavery.
Reinstalling this Office would lead to further developments to close the racial wealth gap of $14-16 trillion. Hunt supports a reparations package that includes multi-generational direct payments, policies, protections and tax exemptions.
Evans has represented Philadelphia’s 3rd District since 2019, but Hunt is confident that her team will be victorious.
“I think we’re the best thing for Philadelphia right now. That comes with a big responsibility, because I'm not someoenee who ever makes promises lightly. So that means the next step is following through. And so I believe we’re going to win in May and then the real work begins,” Hunt said.