On Saturday May 20th, 2023, the Pennsylvania Forward Party will hold its first ever Leadership Summit in Gettysburg (click here for more information). This occasion marks a momentous turning point for the young party. With the Leadership Summit, where State Leaders will be installed and the direction of the state chapter will be defined, Pennsylvania Forward comes one step closer to achieving minor party status in the state. During this historic event, another event of significance will take place. Christian Fyke of New Kensington will be installed as the first Pennsylvania State Chair of the party. Christian was voted in during the party’s elections held the week of April 10th through April 17th, 2023. So just who is Christian, how did he get involved, and what is his vision for the Pennsylvania Forward Party?
Christian has three grown children, two daughters and a son who inspire his work. He currently serves as the General Manager at Knead Community Café in New Kensington, a pay-what-you-can cafe. He is also a partner at Steel Cup Coffee Roasters in New Kensington, an organic coffee roaster. Christian brings an entrepreneurial background along with many business awards, board positions, and a B.A. in Political Science to the party. He was named MACC businessman of the year, MACC Community Partner of the Year and served as Chairman of the Monroeville Area Chamber of Commerce. Christian also served on the boards of the Pennsylvania Restaurant and Lodging Association and the Monroeville Rotary. Prior to taking on the role of General Manager at Knead, Christian was the Founder of Rivertowne, a craft brewery and restaurant with five locations. Christian grew Rivertowne into an $8 million per year company that employed over 130 people. During his time with Rivertowne, Christian was instrumental in changes made in beer packaging and distribution for the state including labels on beer cans and the legality of 12 packs. Christian’s experience with Rivertowne yielded many great experiences, friendships, and lessons.
Christian cites the solutions-oriented approach as to what made him become involved with the Forward Party. During Andrew Yang’s presidential campaign, he heard a fresh approach that resonated with him. He read Andrew Yang’s books, including Forward, which identifies some of the obstacles to improving our current situation. Christian applied to join Forward the day the website went live. It took three months to receive a voicemail from the National Director of Organizing and another two months before they could connect. When Christian was finally able to get involved, there were only two other active members, including Pittsburgh Regional Chair Brian McMurray. Christian quit his job so he could build the foundation of Pennsylvania’s Forward Party. He made hundreds of phone calls and sent out even more emails. The Pennsylvania Forward Party now has over 5,000 members and Christian has done his best to personally reach out to as many of them as possible.
Christian’s immediate goal for the Party is to listen to the people of Pennsylvania and identify the priorities they want addressed by their elected representatives. Next, he wants to see candidates propose specific policies to address those priorities. Christian envisions not only endorsing candidates but to have Forward candidates running in local elections. He believes that in the near term, the Forward party can have at least ten candidates running for office with as many as four of these candidates winning. His four-year goal would be to have one hundred Forward candidates with twenty-five wins. He believes that school boards and city councils are important positions to start building the party and creating influence.
With his entrepreneurial spirit and genuine personality, Christian seems poised to take the Pennsylvania Forward Party in the direction Andrew Yang intended. Christian believes in LIFE leadership (Listen, Inspire, Facilitate, and Empower) and that the party should reflect the people and encourage participation. If Christian’s vision is to come to fruition, he will need more people to get involved. He asks that you “join us, let’s build this together”. Leadership positions need to be filled statewide, they include county leadership, communications, research, fundraising, and more. For information on how you can get involved with the Pennsylvania Forward Party, email [email protected].
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