Kenney announces candidacy for mayor

Former City Councilman Jim Kenney last week entered the Democratic primary for mayor, announcing his candidacy in front of 200 supporters at City Hall.

Kenney described Philadelphia as a “can-do city.”

While he’d ask and beg the state and federal governments for aid, he said Philadelphia should be prepared to fix its own problems.

If elected, he would make schools the centerpieces of all communities. He views those buildings as good places for after-school programs and job training.

All 3- and 4-year-olds should have access to pre-kindergarten classes, he said, adding that he’d work with universities and the Greater Philadelphia Chamber of Commerce to make it happen.

The former councilman favors earned sick leave for employees whose jobs don’t offer paid time off. He supports decreases in business and wage taxes. And he backs a so-called “living wage.”

In office, he said he’d work closely with City Council, where he served for 23 years before resigning two weeks ago to run for mayor.

Later, Kenney released a statement on the $25 million the Philadelphia School Partnership raised to persuade the School Reform Commission to consider new charter school applications.

“Our school district should not accept PSP’s $25 million,” he said. “Not only does that offer cover a fraction of the nearly $500 million required to enroll just 15,000 more students in charters, but the donations come from unnamed millionaires who already have far too great an influence in our upcoming mayoral election. These millionaires are far more concerned with the financial stake they have to gain from public dollars flowing into pro-voucher programs and privately run charters than they are with ‘school choice.’ As mayor, I will work with Gov. Wolf to stand up to those who would seek to profit off our children by privatizing our education system.”

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The Metropolitan Regional Council of Carpenters has endorsed Democratic state Sen. Anthony H. Williams in his bid to become Philadelphia’s next mayor.

“We believe Sen. Williams has the background and experience to serve Philadelphia with the leadership that this progressive city deserves,” said Edward Coryell, executive secretary-treasurer of the Council.

Coryell pointed to Williams’ work with Philadelphia task forces and organizations addressing crime, mass transit, revitalization, education and urban affairs.

Meanwhile, Williams accepted the endorsement of the Transport Workers Union Local 234.

“Throughout his career, Tony Williams has dedicated himself to fighting for the good of all Philadelphians,” said TWU Local 234 president Willie Brown. “He has been on the front lines working to bring people together. He’s a consensus builder and problem solver with the skills that will be required of the next mayor to meet the challenges of this city. I know, and all of us at Local 234 know, that Anthony Williams is up to the challenge.”

TWU Local 234 represents SEPTA bus drivers, subway and trolley operators and maintenance workers.

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Mayoral candidates last week released their fundraising totals.

Former District Attorney Lynne Abraham, a Democrat, raised $549,000 through Jan. 31 and has $410,000 in the bank.

Abraham stated, “Voters know I am a proven, trusted leader who has faithfully served the city of Philadelphia and will challenge the status quo.”

Abraham served as district attorney from 1991 to 2009.

Anthony Hardy Williams has $425,897.80 cash on hand, with almost half of that raised in the last five weeks of 2014.

“My message of One Philadelphia is resonating with the voters, and that is reflected in donations,” Williams said.

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Democrat Sherrie Cohen recently launched her campaign for an at-large City Council seat.

Over the years, Cohen has fought proposed library closings and in favor of gay rights.

“This campaign is about fighting for progressive causes throughout the city and being a champion for progressive issues in City Hall. Philadelphians need a strong voice for fully-funded schools, neighborhood development without displacement and workers’ rights. As an activist and attorney, I’ve fought those battles time and again, and I’m ready to take on those challenges on City Council, so we have a city that works for all Philadelphians and not just the well-connected few.” she said.

Cohen ran in 2011, finishing a close sixth. The top five finishers are nominated.

Action United Political Action Committee, an economic and educational justice organization that claims 30,000 Philadelphia members, has endorsed Cohen.

David Cohen, the candidate’s late father, was a longtime councilman.

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Another at-large Democratic candidate, Isaiah Thomas, raised more than $72,000 in 2014 and closed the year with more than $67,000 cash on hand.

“This strong showing of support means that I have the (resources) to spread my message of fixing our education system, growing jobs and improving public safety in our neighborhoods,” he said.

Thomas has been endorsed by AFSCME, the Local 1199C health care workers union and City Controller Alan Butkovitz. He finished eighth in the 2011 primary.

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The Pennsylvania Bar Association Judicial Evaluation Commission released ratings for statewide judicial candidates.

Supreme Court candidates receiving a highly recommended rating were Cheryl Allen, Christine Donohue, Anne Lazarus, Correale Stevens and David Wecht. Receiving recommended ratings were John Bender, Kevin Dougherty, John Foradora, Michael George, Renee Cohn Jubelirer, Paul Panepinto and Dwayne Woodruff. Receiving a not recommended rating was Rebecca Warren.

For Superior Court, Robert Colville earned a highly recommended rating. Receiving recommended ratings were Alice Dubow, Emil Giordano, Paul Panepinto, Douglas Reichley and David Robbins.

Commonwealth Court candidates receiving recommended ratings were Todd Eagen, Emil Giordano, Paul Lalley, Paul Panepinto, Scot Withers and Michael Wojcik.

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Joe Torsella, former CEO of the National Constitution Center, has raised more than $1 million for next year’s race for state treasurer. Torsella, who lost a congressional primary race to Allyson Schwartz in 2004, will be seeking the Democratic nomination.

“I’m running for state treasurer because it’s a job that has a significant impact on the lives of Pennsylvanians — making higher education more affordable for the middle class through the 529 college savings program, building the economic security of families and seniors, and protecting the investments of our citizens,” he said.

Torsella, his wife and four children live in Flourtown. ••