Why Jim Kenney launched his mayoral campaign within earshot of Nutter’s office

 Jim Kenney finally formally announced his mayoral bid at an event on the second floor of City Hall on Wednesday afternoon. (Kimberly Paynter/WHYY)

Jim Kenney finally formally announced his mayoral bid at an event on the second floor of City Hall on Wednesday afternoon. (Kimberly Paynter/WHYY)

What’s the price of not-so-subtle symbolism?

In the case of a former Philadelphia City Councilman launching his mayoral campaign a matter of steps away from the entrance to the current mayor’s office, the answer is $750.

That’s the figure Lauren Hitt (spokeswoman for Jim Kenney’s campaign) provided when WHYY’s Katie Colaneri (far left in the photo atop this story) asked what it cost to rent the Mayor’s Reception Room for Wednesday’s campaign-launch event.

Fine, fine, there was more to the room selection than causing a noisestorm in the hallways outside Mayor Michael Nutter’s office. Per Colaneri’s story on the announcement:

“It’s a beautiful room, probably one of the most iconic rooms in the city of Philadelphia,” [Kenney] said.

It’s the room where Kenney attended events as an at-large city councilman for 23 years and the room where he came as a 7-year-old to watch his father’s promotion to captain in the Philadelphia Fire Department.

So, yeah, the symbolism might’ve been more personal than professional and in a speech that clocked in at a shade under 15 minutes, Kenney touched on both.

As to the latter, Kenney touched on education, working with Harrisburg, the city’s economy and the need to foster a can-do ethos instead of a city’s penchant for detached negativity. From the speech itself:

Improving our public schools, our city finances, our infrastructure, and our public safety will all take time and patience. Make no mistake, Philadelphia has the grit to get it done – but we will need to come together and become more self-reliant and more independent than ever before. That may seem like a lofty goal, but the diversity of backgrounds and beliefs in this crowd alone serves as proof that we can find the common ground and compromise necessary to help us achieve what we all know we’re capable of achieving.

Kenney also sat down with WHYY’s Dave Davies for an extensive interview that ran on NewsWorks earlier in the day. In it, he defended his record re: the PGW issue. Hear it here.

And, for more on Wednesday’s announcement, hop on over to Citified, the Inquirer, the Tribune or the always-trusty NinetyNine Twitter stream.

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