Larry West has lived in Philadelphia his entire life. Born in raised in Mt. Airy by his mother and grandmother, he went to St. Therese School for his entire elementary school career. It was there that he learned what it meant to be himself, to be a great citizen, and the essence of proper manners. He later went to Cardinal Dougherty High School where his life would soon begin to change.
In 1999, Larry became interested in the world of politics when he began to follow the mayoral race between Democrat John Street and Republican Sam Katz. Coming from a Democratic family and background, he found it odd that he supported Sam Katz. By the time the election came, he sat close to the TV to watch the results. As midnight approached, and with the race almost too close to call, he was saddened to hear that Street had won with a 51% lead.
During the 2000 presidential election, he supported Al Gore, and like a lot of America, was disappointed by the loss. Seeing the mess it caused, young Larry, only 15 at the time, thought it would be a good idea to write a proposed constitutional amendment allowing for a change from the current standard of the electoral college deciding the president, and instead letting the popular vote, the vote of the people, decide their president.
In 2001, not only was his senior year rocked by 9/11, but he also developed a sense of skepticism for authority when the Catholic sex scandal broke out in 2002. An artist by heart, Larry took to his canvas and created pieces based on his dislike of Archbishop Bernard Law and President George W. Bush. The growing war chants began to wear thin on Larry. After graduating with an award by the Archdiocese of Philadelphia for excellence in Art, he went on to Hussian School of Art to study Illustration. It was during this time that Larry would grow exponentially, politically speaking.
The 2003 mayoral election would prove to be the tipping point for Larry to seriously get involved in politics. He was finally 18, and this was to be his first real election. College life interfered with him being able to canvas or help with fundraising efforts to full effect, but he began a movement in his school to try and get people to register to vote. He began writing letters to the editor of the Philadelphia Inquirer, many of which were published, about the horrible outrageousness of John Street not only being elected to a second term, but at the Safe Streets program, the increasing murder rate of 2004, and the near shutdown in budget hearings of Philadelphia, amongst other things. He even began looking into starting a movement to recall Street, an avenue he stopped pursuing when he discovered it was not legally possible to do so.
During this entire time, Larry faced a personal crisis; at age 19, he saw his mother fall victim to a brain aneurysm. His grandmother who had raised him now in a nursing home due to Alzheimer's Disease, he was very nearly left alone to fend for himself. His father out of the picture, he looked to his aunts and cousin for advice and guidance. Soon, with their help, he would go to court to organize and begin the long process of organizing his mother’s affairs. After a battle that lasted well over a year, his mother finally passed on at the age of 58.
Larry West was finally alone in the world. He had no choice but to do everything he possibly could to organize and settle his mothers estate. He remained strong through it all, rarely asking for help, allowing the burden to often be squarely on his shoulders. Though not always easy, he began settling debts, selling estate, and helping anyone and everyone he could when he had the chance.
Today, Larry still stands tall. He has been called strong many times before, and has rarely been deterred by adversity. Many are often shocked that he will not even flinch when the cards are firmly stacked against him.
"Whenever I see something I want, or just something worth doing, I rarely stop until it's done. If I really want something, I'll do anything and everything possible to get it." -Larry West