Skip to content
Link copied to clipboard

City Council at-large race widens

Jenné Ayers, 26, became the latest - and youngest - candidate for City Council At-Large, when she announced her plans to run, Tuesday. Ayers, the daughter of former fire commisioner Lloyd Ayers, joins six other Democratic challengers in a crowded race.

It's not quite 2015 and the race for the seven at-large City Council seats is already a crowded one. Jenné Ayers, the daughter of former fire commissioner Lloyd Ayers, announced her candidacy Tuesday, her 26th birthday, in front of the Free Library.

Ayers, a Harvard graduate who is completing her law degree at Yale, said she wanted to bring "a breath of fresh air" to city council. If elected, she would be the youngest Council person to serve in city history.

"I am not running just to represent young people. I am running for City Council at-large to represent all of Philadelphia and I am setting bold goals," she said at a press conference. "Let's reduce the city's deep poverty rate below the national average. Let's make sure the school district has the funding it needs. Let's make sure our city government is transparent, responsive, and puts the people first."

Ayers won't graduate until May, a few weeks after the primary election, but she said she is living in Roxborough and only commuting to Connecticut for a few remaining credits once or twice a week, leaving her plenty of time to campaign.

Ayers joins a long list of candidates including former City Councilman Frank Rizzo Jr.; George Matysik, the director of government affairs at Philabundance; and Isaiah Thomas, who unsuccessfully sought an at-large seat in 2011.

Sherrie Cohen, an attorney with the Tenant Union Representative Network and daughter of late Councilman at-large David Cohen, is also running, along with Paul Steinke, the general manager of Reading Terminal Market, who steps down in 2015.

The candidates hope to unseat one of the five at-large Democratic Council members: Blondell Reynolds Brown, Wilson Goode Jr., William Greenlee, James Kenney, and Ed Neilson.

James Williams, head track coach at Cheyney University and a Republican ward leader from the 50th Ward, is running as a Republican for the seat of either David Oh or Dennis O'Brien, the two Council at-large Republicans.

The deadline for filing is March 10.

Click here for's politics page.

This article has been corrected from an earlier version.