Phila. Council at Large Primary

Vote for 5

Alexander

Wilson Alexander (D)

Need to Know

Worked with late state senator Hardy Williams, whose son Anthony Williams is currently seeking the mayor’s office.

Ran for an at-large Council seat in 2007, coming in 13th place.

Lives in West Philadelphia.

Challenger

Bio

Entrepreneur and community activist Wilson Alexander, 59, a lifelong Philadelphian, has been involved in politics and civic engagement throughout his life. A 2007 candidate for City Council and a campaign field director and press secretary for the late state senator Hardy Williams, Alexander has also worked in numerous voter education and registration campaigns. Currently, he serves on the board of directors of the Philadelphia Unemployment Project and as the deacon and usher boards of Southwest Philadelphia’s Christ Haven Pentecostal Church. A graduate of West Philadelphia High School, Alexander also attended Temple University. He’s a grandfather of two and lives in Southwest Philadelphia with his wife, Ethel Marteena Session-Alexander.

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Ayers

Jenné Ayers (D)

Need to Know

Daughter of former long-serving Fire Commissioner Lloyd Ayers.

Would be the youngest City Councilperson in Philly history.

Wants to improve open-data initiatives and establish more frequent town hall meetings in neighborhoods.

Challenger

Bio

Jenné Ayers is a lifelong Philadelphian making her first bid for public office at age 26. The daughter of former Philadelphia fire commissioner Lloyd Ayers and community banker Annette Ayers, she’s a graduate of Masterman High School and Harvard College (with a degree in government and health policy), and is currently a third-year student at Yale Law School. Her volunteer efforts include serving as president of the Philadelphia NAACP’s Youth Council and co-president of YOUTHadelphia, a philanthropic board. Ayers was also an associate consultant for the Boston-based nonprofit organization Bridgestone Group and a press assistant in President Obama’s reelection campaign.

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Brown

Blondell Reynolds Brown (D)

Need to Know

Elected in 1999, serves as City Council’s Majority Whip and chairs the Committee on the Environment.

Formerly a professional dancer.

Fined by the Ethics Board in 2013 for borrowing money from her own campaign fund.

Incumbent

Bio

Blondell Reynolds Brown, 62, has served on City Council since 2000. She is Council’s Majority Whip, and chairs the committee on the environment. Reynolds Brown recently sponsored an expansion of a tax credit for green-roof construction and a bill requiring energy benchmarking at commercial buildings. Another of her proposals would make the Mayor’s Office of LGBT Affairs a permanent part of the government. Reynolds Brown, a former dancer, was fined by the Ethics Board in 2013 for borrowing money from her own campaign fund in order to pay a personal debt.

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Cain

Carla Cain (D)

Need to Know

Democratic Committeewoman in Mt. Airy’s 22nd Ward.

Earned degrees in political science and government from Cheyney University and Strayer University.

Worked on campaigns for former mayoral candidate Tom Knox and former governor Ed Rendell.

Challenger

Bio

A proud Philadelphia native who raised her family here and has been married for 24 years, Carla Cain is a Democratic committee person in 22nd Ward (Mount Airy), who’s also active with the Harambee Christian Outreach Mission, a North Philadelphia non-profit organization that provides services to low-income families. She’s involved with the civic groups Neighborhood Beautiful and Mount Airy USA and the National Organization for Women as well. An advocate for a locally elected school board, Cain earned a bachelor’s degree in political science from Cheyney University and a master’s in government from Strayer University. She’s currently studying for a doctorate in government policy and planning.

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Cohen

Sherrie Cohen (D)

Need to Know

Daughter of former Councilman David Cohen.

A lawyer, Cohen previously worked with the Tenant Union Representative Network.

One of two openly gay candidates for an at-large Council seat.

Challenger

Bio

Sherrie Cohen, 59, is an attorney with Philadelphia’s Tenant Union Representative Network, representing vulnerable tenants. The daughter of the late Councilman David Cohen — widely known as the “conscience of Philadelphia” — and Florence Herzog Cohen, she grew up in Olney and lives there today with her partner, Virginia Gutierrez. Cohen is a graduate of Philadelphia High School for Girls, the University of Pennsylvania and St. Thomas University School of Law. She’s vice chair of the PA Democratic Committee’s LGBT caucus, former chair of the Coalition for Essential Services and a former steering-committee member of the Coalition to Save Our Libraries. This is Cohen’s second City Council bid; in the 2011 Democratic primary, she came within 1,754 votes of unseating Councilman Jim Kenney for the final slot in the general election.

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Domb

Allan Domb (D)

Need to Know

Known locally as the “Condo King,” for selling high-end apartments around the city.

President of the Greater Philadelphia Association of Realtors.

Favors extending property-tax abatements on lower-value home sales and repairs.

Challenger

Bio

With a background in business and finance, Allan Domb, 59, has become an influential real estate broker and developer in Philadelphia. Graduating in 1977 with a degree in finance and financial management services from American University, he founded Allan Domb Real Estate in 1980. As the firm’s president, Domb manages luxury condo sales in buildings like the Barclay, the Dorchester, the Philadelphian, Society Hill Towers and Wanamaker House. He is the president of the Greater Philadelphia Association of Realtors and currently serves on the boards of the Center City District, the Starr Restaurant Organization, and the Friends of Rittenhouse Square.

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Goode

W. Wilson Goode, Jr.(D)

Need to Know

Son of Wilson Goode, Philadelphia’s first black mayor.

Regularly sponsors bills aimed at diversifying workforce on projects that get city support.

Elected to Council in 1999 after working for the Commerce Department.

Incumbent

Bio

Wilson Goode, Jr., 49, has served on City Council since 2000, and is chair of Council’s committees on appropriations and commerce and economic development. Goode is a Philadelphia native, a graduate of Central High School and the University of Pennsylvania, and the son of Philadelphia’s first black mayor, Wilson Goode. In the 1990s, Goode worked in the city’s Commerce Department under Mayor Ed Rendell. He has sponsored legislation supporting diverse workforces, raising wage standards, and promoting economic development in underserved communities.

Website | Twitter

Green

Derek Green (D)

Need to Know

Worked as a top adviser to Councilwoman Marian Tasco for more than ten years.

Democratic Committeeman in the 22nd Ward.

Worked as deputy city solicitor in Philadelphia and assistant deputy attorney general in Delaware.

Challenger

Bio

Derek Green, 44, the longtime special counsel to City Councilwoman Marian Tasco, has extensive government legal experience. Prior to joining Tasco’s staff, Green was a deputy city solicitor and an assistant district attorney in Philadelphia, and an assistant deputy attorney general in Delaware. He also ran for City Council in 2007. A Mount Airy resident, Green has had leadership roles in East Mount Airy Neighbors, Inc., the Center in the Park, Mt. Airy USA CDC and the Green Tree School. He’s a graduate of the University of Virginia and Temple University School of Law. Green and his wife, Sheila, are parents of a son, Julian.

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Greenlee

William K. Greenlee (D)

Need to Know

Prime sponsor of an earned-paid sick leave bill for Philadelphia, which finally garnered the votes to pass in 2015. Helped pass anti-discrimination legislation at city level for LGBT individuals, pregnant women, and domestic violence victims.

A biking skeptic; helped pass a bill in 2012 requiring a City Council ordinance for most new bike lanes, and holding up a bike lane planned for 22nd Street.

Chief of staff to the late Councilman David Cohen; long history of civic activity in 15th ward and the Fairmount Civic Association. Often introduces bills for Council President Darrell Clarke, because presidents cannot introduce bills.

Incumbent

Bio

Councilman William Greenlee, 62, is a lifelong resident of the Fairmount neighborhood of Philadelphia. He is a graduate of St. Joseph’s Prep and Temple University. He and his wife Leslie, a teacher, have been married for over 25 years.

In 1980, he began a 26-year career working as chief aide to City Councilman David Cohen, providing constituent services and working on legislative issues. He was elected to City Council in 2006.

Championing earned paid sick leave in Philadelphia is one of Councilman Greenlee’s most recent legislative accomplishments. Greenlee also introduced a bill protecting the rights of pregnant workers and women who are nursing.

Councilman Greenlee was the sponsor of legislation to overhaul the Fair Practices ordinance, which is the City’s Civil Rights Legislation. The Ordinance prohibits discrimination in housing, employment and public accommodations. The update of the law expands the protected classes of citizens to include domestic violence victims, the disabled and the LGBT community.”

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Gym

Helen Gym (D)

Need to Know

Highest-profile public school advocate, strongly backing increased funding, Co-founder of the Public School Notebook and the Folk Arts-Cultural Treasures charter school.

Board member of Asian Americans United, a community organization active in education, youth leadership, immigrant rights and community development.

Early supporter of the Vision Zero street safety campaign, which calls on candidates to commit to reducing Philly’s pedestrian traffic injuries by half before 2020 through traffic calming measures like road diets and protected bike lanes, and stepped-up traffic enforcement.

Challenger

Bio

A one-time Philadelphia elementary-school teacher, Helen Gym, 47, is a co-founder of Parents United for Public Education, a citywide organization focused on school budgets and funding to improve achievement and accountability in the public schools. She’s also an editorial-board member of _Rethinking Schools, _a national social justice teaching journal; and a co-founder of the_Philadelphia Public School Notebook_ and the Folk Arts-Cultural Treasures Charter School. And she’s a board member of Asian Americans United, a community organization active in education, youth leadership, immigrant rights and community development. Gym is a graduate of the University of Pennsylvania.

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Aument-Loughrey

Marnie Aument-Loughrey (D)

Need to Know

Daughter of 33rd Ward leader Donna Aument and committee person in the 33rd Ward’s 19th Division. Active in Kensington community and a member of the 25th Police District Advisory Council.

Crusaded with mother Aument-Loughrey to save Philly’s oldest ice rink at Scanlon Recreation Center in Juniata. Combing the city budget, they came up with $1.5 million for renovation and year-round upkeep of the rink.

Ran unsuccessfully for PA General Assembly in 2000, for City Council in 2007, and for Philadelphia Traffic Court in 2011 and 2013.

Challenger

Bio

Lifelong Kensington resident Marnie Aument-Loughrey is a longtime civic leader. She is president of the Kensington Independent Civic Association, a board member of the Kensington Businessman’s Association and a member of the 25th Police District Advisory Council. The daughter of 33rd Ward leader Donna Aument, Aument-Loughrey is a committee person in the Ward’s 19th Division and has run for Philadelphia Traffic Court (2013 and 2011), City Council (2007) and PA House of Representatives (2000). A single mother of two grown children, she was active in the home and school associations of both of their schools.

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Neilson

Ed Neilson (D)

Need to Know

Won a special election to At-Large City Council in 2014 after the Democratic City Committee selected him as the Democratic nominee.

Former political director of union: IBEW Local 98.

Began his career as a journeyman electrician; rose through the ranks of labor leadership

Incumbent

Bio

Neilson, 51, won a special election in May 2014. He is a native of Northeast Philadelphia and graduated from Abraham Lincoln High School.

He began his professional life as a journeyman electrician with the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers having completed an apprenticeship. He rose through labor leadership and has been appointed to senior level positions within private industry and government. Neilson has advised CEOs, Mayors, and Governors throughout on numerous topics from budgeting, labor relations, community outreach, policy, and more.

His public service career began with the Pennsylvania Department of Labor and Industry and the Pennsylvania Department of General Services. During his tenure with the Commonwealth, his responsibilities included budgets, procurement, construction management and human relations.

In April of 2012, Ed Neilson was elected to serve the 169th District in the Pennsylvania House of Representatives and served as a State Representative until his election to City Council.

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Rizzo

Frank Rizzo Jr. (D)

Need to Know

Son of former Mayor Frank Rizzo

Served as a Republican member of City Council for sixteen years from 1996-2012.

Finished last in the Republican primary in 2011, due in part to his participation in the controversial Deferred Retirement Option Plan (DROP), through which he received a lump-sum payment from his City pension while still receiving his Council salary.

Challenger

Bio

Frank Rizzo Jr., 72, is aiming to return to public service on City Council, where he previously served from 1996 to 2011.The son of the former Philadelphia mayor, Rizzo graduated from Archbishop McDevitt High School in Wyncote in 1961 and was employed by the Philadelphia Electric Company for 32 years, rising from lineman to manager of city and public affairs. Following a short stint at the City Commerce Department, Rizzo mounted his first campaign for City Council in 1995, running as a Republican. He was reelected three times and held the post of Minority Whip from 2000 to 2011 but lost his seat in the 2011 primary election. He became a Democrat in 2013. Rizzo lives in Chestnut Hill with his wife, Deborah, and his mother, Carmella Rizzo.

Steinke

Paul Steinke (D)

Need to Know

Directed the Reading Terminal Market’s $4 million renovation and expansion.

First openly gay man to run for Philadelphia City Council. LGBT community activist for several decades.

Seen as a pro-business candidate, endorsing the tax reform plan supported by Center City District CEO Paul Levy, and Brandywine President and CEO Gerry Sweeney. Worked for for Center City District, and went on to found University City District and serve as its executive director.

Challenger

Bio

Paul Steinke, 50, is a native of the Burholme neighborhood of Northeast Philadelphia. As general manager of Reading Terminal Market for the last 13 years, Steinke oversaw the operations of a major city attraction housing 75 small businesses, and directed the Market’s $4 million renovation and expansion. Prior to taking on his post at Reading Terminal Market, he founded and was executive director of the University City District and before that was director of finance and administration for the Center City District. Steinke is active in the city’s historic-preservation community and has been a passionate advocate and community leader on LGBT issues. He resides in West Philadelphia with David Ade, his partner of 19 years.

Website | Facebook | Twitter

Thomas

Isaiah Thomas (D)

Need to Know

Thomas is the associate dean of students, athletic director, and head boys basketball coach at Sankofa Freedom Academy, and an adjunct professor in the Human Studies Department at Lincoln University.

At 26, Thomas ran for City Council at-large in the Democratic primary in 2011.

Served on the advisory board of New Leaders Council of Philadelphia, a progressive fellowship program for younger activists.

Challenger

Bio

Born and raised in Philadelphia, Isaiah Thomas, 30, is an educator, mentor and community leader. He is the associate dean of students, athletic director, and head boys basketball coach at Sankofa Freedom Academy, and an adjunct professor in the Human Studies Department at Lincoln University. He also founded the Isaiah Thomas Annual Summer Basketball Camp and the advocacy group Philly Roots Inc., and served on the advisory board of the New Leaders Council of Philadelphia. In 2011 — at age 26 — Thomas ran for City Council at-large in the Democratic primary, and won more than 31,000 votes. A graduate of Frankford High School, Penn State University (B.S.) and Lincoln University (M.Ed), he lives in West Oak Lane with his fiancée, Klissa Jarrett, and their two year old son.

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Wyatt

Tom Wyatt (D)

Need to Know

Lawyer at Dilworth Paxton; previously worked as the SEC Counsel at American Water Works Company, as a Special Assistant to the Department of Investigations in the New York City Mayor’s office, and as a teacher in rural Mississippi.

Chair of the education committee for the Passyunk Square Civic Association (PSCA). The PSCA supports Kirkbride and Jackson Elementary schools. He plans to send his two young children to Jackson.

One of a few Council candidates running on smarter city planning issues and sustainability. Says that for Philadelphia to retain residents, “we must have smart policy that provides for an expansive and affordable transportation system, safer streets, and more public spaces.”

Challenger

Bio

Tom Wyatt, 44, received his undergraduate degree from Colorado State University and a law degree from the University of California at Berkeley. Wyatt has served in a variety of roles throughout his career – teaching in the Mississippi Delta, Special Assistant to the Department of Investigations in the New York City Mayor’s office, and SEC counsel at American Water Works Company, where he led the ethics-and-compliance team. He has served on numerous boards in Philadelphia, including WHYY’s Community Advisory Board, and he chairs the Passyunk Square Civic Association’s Education Committee. Wyatt is a partner at a Center City law firm and lives in South Philadelphia with his wife, Sarah, and their two children.

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O'Brien

Dennis O’Brien (R)

Need to Know

In 2007, O’Brien as elected first ever minority-party Speaker of the House.

Passed bill creating inventory and inspection protocol for large, abandoned properties following warehouse fire that killed two firemen.

Councilman O’Brien passed legislation replacing the words “mental retardation” in the Philadelphia Code, with “intellectual disability.”

Incumbent

Bio

Councilman Dennis O’Brien, 62, was elected to Council in 2012 after serving as a State Representative for over 30 years. O’Brien has introduced and passed bills protecting immigrants from notario fraud, and allowing restaurants to compost as a form of recycling. O’Brien led Council’s opposition to Nutter’s plan to award one firm a contract for all conflict counsel for representing the indigent. O’Brien launched the Philadelphia Autism Project, a citywide taskforce on services and supports for individuals with autism in Philadelphia.

Website

Oh

David Oh (R)

Need to Know

First Asian-American elected to political office in Philadelphia

The only member of council with military experience; served in the Maryland National Guard from 1988 to 1991.

Created a tax credit ($15,000 over 3 years) for employers who hire returning veterans

Incumbent

Bio

David Oh, 55, was elected in 2011 after narrowly defeating Al Taubenberger; Oh had previously ran unsuccessfully for his seat in 2007 and 2003. As Councilman, Oh has promoted trade and sought overseas investment, particularly in Asia. Oh also launched a music competition called PHL Live Center Stage. A former assistant district attorney, Oh graduated from Dickinson College and Rutgers University Law School-Camden.

Website | Twitter

Taubenberger

Al Taubenberger (R)

Need to Know

Opposes increasing Philadelphia School District Funding

Vocal critic of council’s decision not to hold hearings over the proposed sale of PGW.

Nutter appointed Taubenberger vice-chair of the Philadelphia Tax Reform Commission soon after the 2007 campaign

Challenger

Bio

This is Al Taubenberger’s third race for city-wide office: Taubenberger, 61, was the GOP’s token candidate for mayor against Michael Nutter in 2007 and narrowly lost to David Oh in 2011 for one of the two minority party seats on Council. Taubenberger has been President of the Greater Northeast Philadelphia Chamber of Commerce since 1991; before that, he worked as a city council staffer. Taubenberger is a graduate of Penn State University.

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Tinney

Dan Tinney (R)

Need to Know

Before joining the Steamfitters Union Local 420, worked as a financial advisor.

Lone Republican At-Large Candidate endorsed by the Philadelphia AFL-CIO.

Critical of Council’s decision not to hold hearings on selling PGW to a private company.

Challenger

Bio

At 33, Dan Tinney is one of the youngest candidates running for an At-Large Council seat. The Penn State graduate says he’ll use his business degrees to work on council to help make Philadelphia a major energy hub. The Northeast native supports ending Councilmanic prerogative, equipping all police with body cameras, and reducing government spending.

Website | Facebook

Tracy

Terry Tracy (R)

Need to Know

Wants to shift to a defined contribution hybrid retirement plan for new city workers to help fix pension crisis.

School funding: rather than tax increases, prefers auditing Philadelphia schools and increased revenue contributions from PGW.

Very critical of Council’s decision not to hold hearings over proposed PGW sale

Challenger

Bio

This former executive for Ralph Lauren first entered the public realm during his campaign for City Controller in 2013. A so-called “bleeding heart conservative”, Tracy, 32, is part of a handful of new Republicans intent on making their party into a viable alternative to the Democratic machine. Tracy has scored endorsements from such rare bedfellows as the black Clergy of Philadelphia and Vicinity, Philly 3.0, and the Fraternal Order of Police. Tracy holds degrees from Temple University and a Masters in Government Administration from the Fels Institute at Penn.

Website | Facebook | Twitter

Williams

James Williams (R)

Need to Know

Supports bill to make Police Advisory Board elected

Supports replacing the School Reform Commission with an elected school board

Supports exemption from real estate taxes for religious based academic institutions.

Challenger

Bio

A lifelong Philadelphian, James Williams, 40, is head coach of Cheyney University’s track team and a Republican ward leader for the 50th Ward. Williams is the lone African-American among the Republicans running for At-Large and places crime at the top of his list of issues he will address if elected.Williams graduated from Cabrini College with a degree in history.

Website | Facebook | Twitter

Wolfe

Matt Wolfe (R)

Need to Know

Announced candidacy outside PGW, to criticize Council’s unwillingness to hold hearings on the sale of the utility to a private company.

Supports term limits for city council and promises to serve just one term if elected.

Wolfe has been the Republican Ward leader of the 27th Ward in University City since 1979.

Challenger

Bio

This isn’t the first race for attorney Matt Wolfe, 59, who lost to Democrat Ed Neilson in a special election for Bill Green’s seat in 2014. Wolfe supports lowering taxes, reforming the pension and cutting city spending to reallocate funds towards schools while maintaining police, fire, sanitation and infrastructure spending. This former rugby player has been in his [fair share of scraps](http://articles.philly.com/2010-09-16/news/24979592_1_new-election-lieutenant-governor-numerous-irregularities) with the old guard of the Philadelphia Republican Party. A former deputy attorney general, Wolfe has held various positions in state and city government. Wolfe is a graduate of the Villanova Law School and the University of Pennsylvania.

Website | Facebook | Twitter

Committee of Seventy contributed to this guide.

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