Jim Kenney ended his career as City Councilman four years ago, when he was on what the Inquirer describes as “the brink of political extinction.” On Tuesday, Nov. 3, the residents of Philadelphia elected Kenney to be their 99th mayor, starting on Jan. 4, 2016.
After 98% of the votes were counted, Kenney, 57, was leading by a ratio of six-to-one — reportedly the biggest gap in mayoral elections in Philadelphia’s history.
It’s likely that Kenney’s win was helped along by a last-minute endorsement from President Obama on Nov. 2., although most people believe he would have won the election even without a presidential endorsement. Republican nominee Melissa Murray Bailey faced an uphill battle in the election, considering that voter registration in Philadelphia is roughly seven Democrats for every one Republican.
As the Daily News described it, Tuesday’s general election “had the suspense of a Harlem Globetrotters basketball game.”
So now that Kenney has been elected, it’s time for the two most important questions: Where does Kenney really stand on important city issues?
Kenney is currently advocating for expanded pre-K programs, and his support for Philadelphia’s students and teachers has been one of his defining campaign points. He’s also discussed opening up public schools that can provide healthcare and social services as well.
Small and local businesses already provide anywhere from 60-80% of jobs across the country, and Kenney has made it clear that he intends to provide more job opportunities to the city. Specifically, he has said that he wants to bring in more small businesses in the tech industry.
Kenney hopes to make jobs more available to Philadelphia residents getting out of jail. He has called for greater enforcement of “ban the box” legislation, which prohibits private employers from asking about applicants’ past arrests and/or convictions during the earliest stages of hiring.
Kenney has made a point of calling for the end of “stop and frisk” policies on the streets of Philly. He is also expected to review the list of recommended police department improvements, provided by the U.S. Department of Justice after a review of Philadelphia’s police force.
Granted, Kenney’s first 100 days in office will likely provide more insight into his stances than any amount of campaign promises and plans could provide. So which issues do you think he’s likely to tackle first, and which issues should he focus on? Be sure to let us know what you think!