Meet the Mayoral Candidates - Anthony Williams

His Story:

Williams is son of a father who was both a judge and community activist. He went to The College of  William & Mary, where he earned a degree in economics, and rose through the ranks at PepsiCo to become a mid-level executive. The rise of gang violence, blighted communities, and lack of opportunity in Philadelphia led him away from the private sector and into politics in 1988, when he first served as a Representative in the Pennsylvania State Legislature. For the last 16 years, he’s served in the State Senate. He is a strong community advocate, and his main campaign message is about creating One Philadelphia: “The destiny of our community isn’t tied to the magnitude of our challenges, but our ability to find solutions together.” 

Vision for a Sustainable Philadelphia

I’ve been a proponent of environmental and conservation issues since the 1980s. As a state legislator who represented both urban and suburban areas, I worked to establish the Cobbs Creek Environmental Center, helped constituents create a political action committee to address environmental justice, and sponsored bills to address the adverse health impacts of toxic chemicals in low--income communities. As mayor, I am committed to building One Philadelphia,- a city where every neighborhood benefits from sustainability because it improves our quality of life. I’ll focus on two areas that will position Philadelphia as a
national leader in sustainability: 

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Meet the Mayoral Candidates-Nelson Diaz

 

by Heather Shayne Blakeslee 

His Story:

Diaz grew up in a public housing project in New York City, and made his way through St. Joseph’s University and then Temple Law. He was the first Puerto Rican to earn a law degree from the University and to pass the Pennsylvania Bar Exam, after which he became a Public Defender. He was also the first Latino confirmed by the U.S. Senate to be a General Counsel; he served with the Department of Housing and Urban Development. He’s a 45-year resident of the City, and among other posts, he served as City Solicitor under Mayor John Street. He’s currently a partner with Dilworth Paxson LLP. The widest plank of his campaign platform concerns support for the school system: “Education is the only universal equalizer for our children, and the major civil rights issue of our time.” 

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Meet the Mayoral Candidates-Jim Kenney

by Heather Shayne Blakeslee 

 

His Story:

Kenney was born in South Philadelphia and raised by a firefighter and homemaker. He got his first union card at 17, and went on to get a degree from La Salle University, becoming the first person in his family to go to college. He’s served in City Council since 1991, and as a self-proclaimed progressive, his causes have included rights for the LGBTQ community, decriminalizing marijuana and fashioning a broader immigration policy for the City. He’s been the chair of several committees in Council, including the Committee on the Environment. He resigned from his seat to run for mayor. His campaign website is the only one that lists the environment as a platform issue and he believes that, “If Philadelphians come together, we can make quality public schools, safer streets and living-wage jobs a reality in every neighborhood.” 

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Meet the Mayoral Candidates-Lynne Abraham

by Heather Shayne Blakeslee

 

Her Story:

Abraham’s bio has a lot of firsts. She’s the daughter of first-generation Americans who lived “on the edges of poverty,” and was the first in her family to go to college; she got a degree from Temple University and went on to Temple Law School. She is the first woman to be elected to the Municipal Court, and if she’s elected this year, she’d be Philadelphia’s first female mayor. She’s worked at the Philadelphia Redevelopment Authority, as a judge in Court of Common Pleas, ran the City’s 600-person law office, and was the City’s District Attorney for 19 years. She touts her independence from powerful interests with the campaign message, “Nobody’s mayor but yours.” 

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The Progress That’s at Stake

Political progress has been made, but much work remains

Eight years ago, the new crop of mayoral candidates were like sustainability seedlings, just beginning to poke their soft green heads above the soil and move toward the light.

There were some unintended moments of comedy along the way. During a candidate forum, one of the candidates purported to be a fan of “alterior energy,” and wondered aloud how a green roof would be mowed. The current class of mayoral contenders, and the City itself, has come a long way since our collective awakening, in large part due to the leadership of the Nutter administration.

 

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