Stack, Saidel back Williams on eve of election

As voters prepare to head to the polls for the primary election on Tuesday, candidates are unveiling some late endorsements.

State Sen. Anthony Williams, a Democrat running for mayor, is being backed by Lt. Gov. Mike Stack, former City Controller Jonathan Saidel, U.S. Rep. Chaka Fattah and District Attorney Seth Williams.

“I support Tony Williams because he is the only candidate with a real plan to address the city’s most pressing issue, and the issue I have championed my entire career: quality education and educational opportunities for all of Philadelphia’s children and families,” Fattah said.

Williams also unveiled endorsements from millennials, generally considered to be people under 35.

“I support Senator Williams because he has the experience and skills to be mayor taking from his leadership in Harrisburg and in corporate America. He is a strong proponent for options in education, diversity and inclusion in the workplace, and strengthening Philadelphia’s economic growth and sustainability, which is important to professional millennials who are starting families and building careers in Philadelphia,” said Mika Kim Hading, director of development and major gifts at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia.

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Meanwhile, Williams released a statement as paid sick leave went into effect in Philadelphia last week.

Williams said the fight must continue for a minimum wage of $15 an hour.

The candidate pointed out that one of his five opponents, Jim Kenney, twice voted against paid sick leave while serving in City Council.

“The working families of Philadelphia need a mayor they can trust to do the right thing every year, not just someone who says the right thing in an election year,” Williams said.

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U.S. Rep. Brendan Boyle, City Council President Darrell Clarke, City Controller Alan Butkovitz and state Sen. Vincent Hughes have all made late endorsements of Jim Kenney for mayor, as the only independent poll of the campaign showed Kenney with a 25-point lead over Anthony Williams and Lynne Abraham.

“Jim Kenney has always understood that our city is only as strong as our middle class,” Boyle said. “Time and again, he fought for quality neighborhood schools, safer streets and fair wages and benefits, so that every family could have a shot at success.”

Clarke and Butkovitz, who both weighed mayoral bids, announced their endorsement of Kenney in North Philadelphia after touring the Martin Luther King Older Adult Center and the Stephen Klein Wellness Center.

“I’ve worked with him for more than 16 years, and I know he’s the right choice for Philadelphia. He will have the effective relationship with Council that we need,” Clarke said.

“I’m proud to endorse him for mayor and I look forward to working with him to create an even more fiscally responsible city government,” Butkovitz said.

Hughes announced his endorsement of Kenney at a get-out-the-vote kickoff at the John C. Anderson apartments. He cited Kenney’s commitment to universal pre-kindergarten, community schools and fully-funded public education in his endorsement:

“He has a clear plan for municipal district funding and has committed to working with me to get every child reading at grade level. As the first candidate to come out in support of universal pre-k and community schools, he also clearly has a comprehensive understanding of what a quality education looks like for our children,” Hughes said.

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The Philadelphia Daily News has endorsed the five challengers in the Republican primary for at-large City Council.

The newspaper endorsed James Williams, Matt Wolfe, Terry Tracy, Dan Tinney and Al Taubenberger.

The paper declined to endorse incumbents Denny O’Brien and David Oh.

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Randi Weingarten, president of the American Federation of Teachers, came to Philadelphia for a rally and news conference to support Helen Gym, a Democratic candidate for City Council at large.

Weingarten said at the rally, “Helen Gym has been reclaiming the promise of public education in Philadelphia for years. I would travel far and wide to stand with this inspirational parent and leader. Helen Gym belongs on City Council because she walks the walk and backs up her words with action when she advocates for Philadelphia’s schools.”

Also in attendance at Wednesday’s rally was District Attorney Seth Williams, who spoke in support of Gym’s efforts to strengthen education in Philadelphia.

Williams said, “The №1 crime-prevention tool is early childhood education. I’m going to vote for the right person — I’m here to endorse education as a priority in our city.”

Gym is a community activist, former teacher and mother of three children in Philadelphia’s public schools. She co-founded Parents United for Public Education and the Philadelphia Public School Notebook.

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State Sens. Larry Farnese and Daylin Leach and Sheriff Jewell Williams have endorsed Sherrie Cohen in the Democratic primary for an at-large Council seat.

“When 11 neighborhood libraries were at risk, Sherrie helped organize against the closures and sued in court to keep them open. I watched her stand up for working Philadelphians, push for an increase in the minimum wage and use her expertise as a public interest attorney to fight toxic polluters and slum landlords.” Farnese said.

“Like her late parents, Florence and Councilman David Cohen, I know she will be a champion for poor and working Philadelphians. That’s the leadership we need on City Council. I haven’t endorsed anyone else this cycle so far, and she’s my first because we need her in City Hall,” Williams said.

“Sherrie is a proven activist not only for the LGBT community, but on a host of issues important to progressives. During this campaign, I have watched her continue to speak up for working Philadelphians and push for an increase in the minimum wage, expanded protections for the LGBT community and housing policies that don’t displace low-income workers,” Leach said.

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Clean Water Action Pennsylvania has endorsed John Foradora for a seat on the Pennsylvania Supreme Court.

Foradora is one of six Democrats running in the primary. Six Republicans are also running. The top three finishers in each primary move on to the general election.

“I am honored to have the support of Clean Water Action Pennsylvania. This endorsement is personal to me because of the connection I feel with our natural world and the joy it provides my family and myself,” Foradora said.

In recent weeks, Foradora has also earned the support of the Pennsylvania State Troopers Association, Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 68 and IBEW Local 126. He’s been recommended by the Pennsylvania State Bar Association and the Fraternal Order of Police, Pennsylvania State Lodge.

Foradora has served as the president judge of Jefferson County since 2002. ••