The Williams Way LGBT Community Center was abuzz Wednesday night with mayoral and judicial candidates giving their best elevator pitch to an audience of mostly members and supporters of the LGBT community.
The forum was hosted by the Liberty City LGBT Democratic Club, a group that is looking to elect officials who support LGBT issues. Wednesday's forum is part of Liberty City's endorsement process for mayoral and judicial candidates.
The judicial candidates had 90 seconds to speak and the mayoral candidates had three minutes. People in the audience could also ask questions to each candidate.
Here are some of the highlights from the four democratic mayoral candidates who showed up:
Since he ran for Council in 1990s, Kenney said, he has supported the LGBT community. He believes he can do even more as mayor. He used his time on the mic, to push his agenda for universal Pre-K and community schools.
"Over the years, I have attempted and I think I have succeeded taking on issues that were not necessarily be expected of me as a white Irish Catholic straight guy from South Philly who is a mummer."
The former Common Pleas Court judge told the crowd that when he lived in the Harlem housing projects, he had several friends who died of drugs or HIV. He too pushed his education agenda.
"I was able to get out of Harlem when nobody said I could get out of Harlem," he said. "I have an opportunity to try to fix the school system to provide an opportunity to kids who came from similar background to what I had."
Anthony H. Williams
The state senator told the crowd some of the same stories he told at the community center earlier in the day, when some LGBT leaders endorsed him for mayor. Williams spoke of his 1995 vote against a state bill that would ban same sex marriage and of the millions of dollars he helped bring to Philadelphia for gay housing projects.
"My expression tonight in asking you to support me as mayor, is borne not out of what I do or have evolved to understand or what is politically powerful at a moment, it's what we do in those moments of challenge."
Throughout the two-hour event, the former District Attorney received a few shout-outs from former assistant district attorneys who are now running for judge for having had an LGBT-friendly District Attorney's office. She hit on that during her speech, saying she asked everyone in the DA's office, while she was the chief, to be openly gay and be proud of it. She said she consistently spread that message in her career.
"The wonderful thing about this group that has come before you for mayor is that each one of us has an affable history with the LGBT community. I'm going to suggest to you, however, that I have the longest and, I think, the proudest."