The morning after Kendra Brooks and the Working Families Party captured one of two at-large Philadelphia City Council seats that Republicans have held for decades, Mayor Jim Kenney said Brooks’ win doesn’t necessarily mean voters want a more liberal City Hall.
“I see it as an evolution in our city,” Kenney told The Inquirer on Wednesday. “Everything changes. And [Brooks] worked hard, and the people who supported her worked hard.”
Kenney also suggested his own reelection landslide, which he accomplished without even campaigning, said more about the legitimacy of his opponent than about the city’s long-struggling Republican Party.
“I love my Republican colleagues, I love my Republican citizens," Kenney said. "But Billy Ciancaglini as their nominee. ... This is a far right-wing troll, and they put him up there.”
Citing Democratic victories in other states this week, Kenney said he sees a “Trump effect” taking place nationwide, with some voters seeking a course correction to Republican policies.
“Some people took a chance on Donald Trump, not knowing what he would be like," he said. "Not realizing what a madman he would turn out to be.”
Kenney talked politics in a brief interview after he and other city officials announced a new program aimed at providing support to communities suffering from gun violence. Calling violence prevention a top priority for his second term, Kenney told reporters at City Hall that he shares “City Council’s sense of urgency to curb the senseless gun violence that harms and claims so many lives.”
Kenney said $5 million will be appropriated for the program, which will include re-launching intervention efforts in crime hotspots and targeting repeat offenders. He said the project, which will launch first in West Philadelphia and later expand to other neighborhoods, will also bring trauma support and counseling to neighborhoods in the aftermath of shootings, as well as funding for community improvements like cleaning overgrown lots and abandoned buildings, and repairing street lights.