Kenney locks down support of Northwest Philly political leaders [updated]

Listen

City and state elected officials gathered at a West Oak Lane restaurant on Monday morning to throw their support behind mayoral candidate Jim Kenney. 

The event, held at Relish on Ogontz Avenue, featured nine ward leaders, state Reps. Dwight Evans, Stephen Kinsey and Cherelle Parker, and City Councilwomen Cindy Bass and Marian Tasco.

Relish, now a popular gathering spot for members of Northwest Philadelphia’s political block, was packed for a brief event emceed by state Rep. Dwight Evans in the heart of his district.

Evans said the decision to back Kenney came after elected officials met — in some form — with each of the mayoral candidates.

“I’m standing here understanding how hard I have to work to keep your trust [and] keep your confidence in me because you’re giving it to me lovingly today,” Kenney said. “I have every responsibility to make sure that I live up to that love and that appreciation and that respect.”

Writes WHYY’s Dave Davies about the endorsement’s importance:

This is historic.

I’ve been covering Philadelphia mayoral elections since 1983, and not once in those 32 years can I remember a white mayoral candidate running against a well-known black candidate in a competitive primary getting multiple endorsements from African-American elected officials.

Let’s take a look at some comments explaining why these officials chose to back Kenney in the six-candidate Democratic mayoral primary:

Bass: “I know Jim Kenney is going to put the city in the right direction it needs to be in. Not just for [my daughter], but for all of our kids, for all of our futures.”

Evans: “I’ve watched the leadership he provided on the issue of ‘Stop and Frisk.’ I said that back in ’07 and he said that is not the kind of policy that we need to have. I’ve watching him on ‘Stand Your Ground‘ when he has said that is not the policy we should have. I have watched him on the issue of education and delivering and understanding [that] yes, there are public schools and charter schools, but we must make sure they are financed properly.”

Kinsey: “He is also focused on creating a public education system that focuses on our children’s entire educational career and addresses their full learning environment. That’s why I’m supporting Jim for mayor.”

Parker: “After working in Harrisburg, I know the legislators don’t like an executive working like a dictator. You’ve got to find a way to sit down and work with the body that will make the policy so that we can enact the progressive initiatives needed so that all Philadelphians will be able to participate and benefit from it.”

Tasco: “I know that he’ll be a good mayor because he considers all people his friends and Philadelphia would benefit better for him being our leader.”

Want a digest of WHYY’s programs, events & stories? Sign up for our weekly newsletter.

It will take 126,000 members this year for great news and programs to thrive. Help us get to 100% of the goal.