Rev. Keith Goodman explains why he exited the Philly mayor’s race

 At last week's Next Great City forum, Rev. Keith Goodman noted that he is 'not a career politician.' Today, he exited the race. (Brad Larrison/for NewsWorks)

At last week's Next Great City forum, Rev. Keith Goodman noted that he is 'not a career politician.' Today, he exited the race. (Brad Larrison/for NewsWorks)

When the Rev. Keith Goodman declared his intention to run for mayor of Philadelphia last month, questions instantly arose as to whether he met the residency requirements necessary to do so.

Now, it seems as if we’ll never know. The North Philadelphia Seventh-Day Adventist Church senior pastor announced Tuesday that he won’t enter the Democratic primary, after all.

In an email titled “Why I Am Exiting the Race to Become Philly’s Next Mayor,” he explained his decision.

I have enjoyed this phase of the campaign process to become the next Mayor of Philadelphia. I want to express my appreciation to those across the City and state who have encouraged me to run.

I care deeply about the City of Philadelphia. I care deeply about the children of this City. There are so many children whose parents don’t have the luxury of deciding to move to a different district or even a different neighborhood where the schools are better. These families don’t have a choice about where their children go to school. If that neighborhood school fails to educate them, as a City we have all failed these children.

I am passionate about the fact that every person who wants to get a job should be afforded the opportunity to the dignity of work. I firmly believe that a long-term strategy for reducing crime is by educating the next generation and providing good jobs for the able-bodied.

At this time, I have decided not to continue this race for Mayor. In the last month, I have had to conduct four funerals. Although I do feel the call to be in elected office, I also feel that the immediate need is to minister to these families and that, at this time, my strongest role is to be an advocate for families with special needs children and who are suffering from the effects of violence and crime. I will continue to be a voice for those who are too easily overlooked.

I entered this race because I wanted to raise these issues as a pastor who sees them “up close and personal” on a daily basis. In the hundreds of one-on-one conversations I’ve had with voters and the forums in which I have participated I feel that I have done what I needed to do.

I will be listening to the rest of the candidates in the forums to come. I am going to stay involved and will eventually throw my support to one of the candidates before the primary.

It will be the candidate who not only has the passion to build upon the work that has been done in Center City, but who will make a commitment to think and act citywide. Many of the young people have lost confidence in the political process. We need to restore their faith in government to do as Jeremy Bentham said, the “greatest good to the greatest number of people.”

With Goodman out, the petition-filing Democratic mayoral field includes Lynne Abraham, Nelson Diaz, Jim Kenney, Doug Oliver, Milton Street and Tony Williams.

It was unclear Tuesday afternoon whether Juan Rodriguez filed the requisite paperwork to run, something not required of Queena Bass’ potential write-in campaign.

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