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Local News

Cherelle Parker sworn in as Philadelphia’s 100th mayor


John Cole, Pennsylvania Capital-Star
January 2, 2024

PHILADELPHIA — Cherelle Parker was publicly sworn in as Philadelphia’s 100th mayor on Tuesday, becoming the first woman to hold the office. And she wasted no time taking her first official actions, signing three executive orders within hours of the swearing-in ceremony, one a public safety emergency. 

“There will no longer be a tale of two cities in Philadelphia,” Parker said during her hour-long address at the Met Philadelphia. “We are going to close the gap between the haves and the have nots.”

Parker echoed her campaign message of making Philadelphia the “safest, cleanest, greenest big city in the nation with economic opportunity for everybody,” and highlighted her 100-Day Action plan, a copy of which was placed on every seat in the building for her address. 

Parker said her administration will announce plans to increase the number of Philadelphia police officers, with a focus on community policing and addressing quality-of-life crimes.

“In every neighborhood in the city of Philadelphia… we can’t get angry because people who live and work and own a business in our city have told us on many occasions that they don’t feel safe in their neighborhoods.” 

Her administration will try to rebuild trust between the community and the police department, Parker added. “We can’t be angry at them because they publicly expressed to us how they feel,” she said.

In addition to laying out her plans for public safety, Parker also highlighted her administration’s goals on improving economic opportunity, education, and housing during her speech. 

“What I’m here to mention to each of you today is that we are going to be laser-focused on developing and implementing solutions to address our challenges and we’re going to solve them for the people of our city,” Parker said. “Because that’s what you deserve to see. You deserve to see your tax dollars at work in your neighborhood,” she added. 

Parker was widely viewed as the leading moderate candidate in the crowded Democratic Party primary race for Mayor, but she promised to deliver big changes to Philadelphia.

“I’m not talking about incremental change,” Parker said Tuesday. “I’m talking about bold, transformative steps that when people walk outside of their houses, they can touch, see, and feel.”

U.S. Housing and Urban Development Secretary Marcia Fudge, U.S. Sen. Bob Casey (D-Pa.), Lt. Gov. Austin Davis, House Speaker Joanna McClinton (D-Philadelphia), and members of the state’s congressional delegation were also in attendance at the ceremony on Tuesday.

Parker was first elected to represent the 200th District in the state House in 2005, becoming the youngest Black woman elected to Pennsylvania’s House. Following her decade in the state House, she won a seat on Philadelphia City Council in 2015 to represent the 9th District.

She won a nine-candidate Democratic Party primary for Philadelphia mayor in May by securing 32% of the vote and beat Republican David Oh in the general election in November.

Parker described outgoing Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney as a “good friend,” and lauded his focus on improving recreation centers throughout Philadelphia with his administration’s Rebuild Initiative and his focus on early childhood education.

In addition to Parker’s historic swearing-in as the first woman to become mayor of Philadelphia, Tuesday also marked a new era for Philadelphia City Council. Kenyatta Johnson, a Democrat representing the 2nd Council District, was unanimously elected Philadelphia City Council President.

Parker said that despite the challenges ahead, she has confidence in her administration. 

“And you hear some people doubting us before we even get started,” Parker said. “I want you to say to them, don’t throw shade on my Philly shine.”

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This article is republished from Pennsylvania Capital-Star under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.