Third-Party Candidate Wins a Seat in Council, Seven Women, 13 Candidates of Color Win Council Races
The victories by Working Families Party candidate Kendra Brooks, an education activist, and Councilmember David Oh (At Large) capped an election in which 14 incumbent Councilmembers sought re-election and 13 won.
In addition to Councilmember-elect Brooks, three other newcomers won election to City Council on Tuesday, as Kathy Gilmore Richardson, Isaiah Thomas and Jamie Gauthier secured seats after winning competitive primary battles in May. Gilmore Richardson, a longtime former Council staff member, and Thomas, an educator and community advocate, won At Large seats on Council, while Gauthier, a non-profit organization leader, won the 3rd District Council seat representing West Philadelphia.
The next City Council will include seven women members – which ties a high-water mark in Council first reached in 1992 (and repeated in later years). Other demographics of note: the Council will include 10 African-American members, two Asian-American members, four white members, and one Latina member.
Here is a quick snapshot of how the seven At Large seats on Council were decided Tuesday night, according to unofficial returns from the Philadelphia City Commissioners:
In District Council races, Councilmembers Mark Squilla (1st District), Kenyatta Johnson (2nd District), Curtis Jones, Jr. (4th District), Bobby Henon (6th District), Cindy Bass (8th District) and Brian O’Neill (10th District) won re-election over their challengers. Councilmembers Darrell L. Clarke (5th District), Maria Quinones Sanchez (7th District) and Cherelle L. Parker (9th District) were un-opposed in their re-election races.
The lone incumbent Councilmember to lose his re-election effort was Councilmember Al Taubenberger, (At Large) who has served on Council since 2016.
Morning After Elections, Mayor and Council Lay Out Violence Prevention Agenda
The morning after the election, Mayor Jim Kenney and five Councilmembers gathered in the Mayor’s Reception Room, detailing their agenda to combat and reduce gun violence plaguing too many city neighborhoods.
Mayor Kenney, joined by his Managing Director Brian Abernathy and Deputy Managing Director Vanessa Garrett Harley, laid out their violence prevention agenda, which included $5 million in program enhancements atop $31.5 million in anti-violence measures approved as part of the FY2020 Budget in Five-Year Financial Plan in June.
Here’s a glimpse at the violence prevention strategies discussed Wednesday:
- Enhanced Focused Deterrence/Group Violence Intervention ($750,000 to augment $500,000 from PA legislature.)
- Rapid Response Outreach following Neighborhood Violence/Trauma ($282,500 for 6 rapid response team members and 2 coordinators)
- Community Crisis Intervention Program ($475,000 for 36 crisis workers)
- Police-Assisted Diversion
- Mentorship ($250,000 to develop mentor programs for at-risk youth)
- Targeted Community Violence Prevention Grants ($750,000)
- Workforce Development $50,000 coordinator of violence reduction efforts
- Funding to evaluate effectiveness of the programs ($150,000)
- Blight remediation, L&I inspections, clean/seal in high-risk neighborhoods
- Also $300,000 to Streets Dept. for lighting upgrades.
Council President Darrell L. Clarke set the tone for the Mayor’s news conference: “It’s not lost on me that we’re here at 9:30 am, the morning after Election Day, and the first thing we’re talking about is gun violence prevention. I want to commend the mayor for his focus.”
Clarke and the mayor were joined by Councilmembers Kenyatta Johnson and Curtis Jones, Jr., both experienced, passionate advocates for gun violence prevention efforts in the city.
Councilmember Johnson noted his support for the strategies outlined by the mayor and his team – but added he supported more resource investment in these strategies.
“Ten (million) sounds better than five,” Johnson said.
What’s Next in Council?
The Kenney administration and City Council will hear testimony and discussion on a series of budget transfer ordinances on Tuesday, November 12th. Councils Appropriations Committee, chairred by Quiñones-Sánchez, will hear testimony from administration budget officials on proposed budget transfers amending the FY2020 Capital Budget and also the first year of the FY20-25 Capital Program.
Expect a wide range of questions at the hearing as Councilmembers and administration officials discuss suggested transfers and spending priorities over the next six months of the city’s fiscal year. The hearing begins at 1 pm.
Inside the Rail …
The next Stated Meeting of City Council is scheduled for Thursday, November 14, at 10 a.m. in Council Chambers on the 4th floor at City Hall.