Councilmember Cherelle L. Parker proudly serves the Ninth Council District in Philadelphia, which stretches through northwest and northeast communities, including East Mt. Airy, West Oak Lane, East Oak Lane, Olney, Lawncrest, Lawndale, Burholme and Oxford Circle.
Raised by her grandparents, Cherelle’s mission to bridge the gap between the “haves” and the “have-nots” continues to be her driving force for change. She has dedicated her life to using her voice to advocate for the passage of much-needed public policies that will enhance the quality of life for the working class, senior citizens, women, children and families alike, while promoting job creation and sustainability, economic development, an equitable public school system and consumer protection laws.
As chair of Council’s Labor and Civil Service Committee, Cherelle is working to ensure that all workers have financial security in their retirement. She is also focused on addressing deteriorating infrastructure and an overall lack of investment in Middle Neighborhoods, illustrating her passion for neighborhood stabilization and home preservation.
Widely recognized for her strong organizational, strategic planning and oratorical skills, Cherelle has championed several key pieces of legislation, amendments and policy initiatives including, but not limited to:
- A bill requiring developers to complete a Project Information Form outlining the potential physical, environmental and financial impact of proposed development to ensure that residents are informed about potential development in their communities
- Increasing the realty transfer tax by 0.1 percent to borrow $100 million in bonds to eliminate the backlog for the city’s income-based home repair programs – Basic Systems Repair, Weatherization Assistance and Adaptive Modification
- Creation of a low-interest Housing Preservation Loan Program with Council President Darrelle L. Clarke to assist Philadelphia homeowners in maintaining owner-occupied properties
- Establishing a free small business training and technical assistance program called “Power Up Your Business” run by Community College of Philadelphia, which has provided assistance to more than 100 businesses in its first six months
- Increased the prevailing wage to service employees working at the city’s bigger establishments that receive city money or tax breaks
Additionally, Cherelle is vice chair of Council’s Committee on Commerce and Economic Development, and serves as a member on several committees, including Appropriations; Children and Youth; Education; Housing, Neighborhood Development and the Homeless; Parks, Recreation and Cultural Affairs; Rules; and Transportation and Public Utilities.
Prior to her election to Council in November 2015, Cherelle served for 10 years as the State Representative for the 200th Legislative District in the Pennsylvania House of Representatives, where she made history in September 2005 by becoming the youngest African-American woman ever elected. As State Representative, she earned a reputation for being one of the most effective, politically savvy and proactive legislators in the region. She was twice elected by her Philadelphia colleagues to serve as chair of the Philadelphia Delegation to the House, and in 2013, she was also appointed vice chair/Democratic chair of the House Committee on School Safety.
As Chair of the Philadelphia delegation, Cherelle’s signature legislative and policy initiatives included:
- The Philadelphia Tax Fairness Package which provided the city of Philadelphia with another tool to collect delinquent property taxes thereby generating additional revenue for the School District of Philadelphia (SDP), create the LOOP (Long term Owner-Occupant Program), expand tax-payment installment opportunities, and jumpstarted the conversation regarding the property tax uniformity clause;
- Act 89 of 2013, the Commonwealth’s historic Transportation Bill which will invest $2.3 billion in the state’s aging roads, bridges and transportation infrastructure, including a $450 million investment in public transportation;
- Local $2-per-pack cigarette tax implemented to generate additional recurring revenue for the SDP during a period a gross of underfunding; and
- Act 75 of 2012, which strengthens victims’ rights by permitting expert testimony regarding victim behavior in cases of sexual assault.
While in Harrisburg, Cherelle also fought vigorously to safeguard Philadelphia’s Paid Sick Leave ordinance, ensure that school district resources were used in the classroom and providing our students with access to high-quality resources, and to preserve the city’s ability to secure local safety ordinances protecting residents against the sales and use of illegal guns. Further, she worked with various advocacy groups and led the effort to prevent the legalization of predatory payday lending in the Commonwealth, a fight she began during her tenure as a senior staffer in the City Council of Philadelphia.
Cherelle is also a member of several service-oriented organizations, boards and commissions also working to improve the community at-large, including Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc., The Links, Inc., and the National Coalition of 100 Black Women. Moreover, as an Eisenhower Fellow, in 2010, Cherelle was selected for the Women in Leadership program to study political systems in South America. She was also chosen for Governing Institute’s Women in Government Leadership Class of 2017.
She is a graduate of both the University of Pennsylvania and Lincoln University, where she earned Master of Public Administration and Bachelor of Science in English Education Degrees, respectively. She is also a wife and mother residing in Mt. Airy, who enjoys reading, traveling, cooking and spending time with family and friends during her leisure.