Excerpts from the advance text of the speech Mayor Kenney delivered Monday morning after being sworn in:
First, thank you to my parents and my children for their support today and on all days.
Thank you also to the Council president and City Council for having me - and a special congratulations to our new members. I look forward to working together in the years to come.
And, finally, thank you to Gov. Rendell, Mayor Street, Mayor Green, Mayor Goode, Mayor Nutter, Justice Dougherty, and all our tremendous city workers. The collective decades of service to Philadelphia in this room today is truly awesome. So, please, everyone, join me in giving our city's leaders and workers a round of applause I asked some of my predecessors for advice on the address I'm about to deliver. And above all else, they asked that I keep it brief. Admittedly, that's never really been a big problem for me. Back in February, I believe I sped-read what was supposed to be a 15-minute announcement speech in about 60 seconds. . . .
For the one in four people in this city living in poverty, an effective public transportation system can make the difference of whether or not they can afford to go to a job interview. For a young family, affordable pre-K can make the difference of whether or not they save for college. For an immigrant entrepreneur, a city Commerce representative who can speak their native language can make the difference between a business that succeeds or fails.
Accordingly, the vision that will guide my administration is that city government should first and foremost deliver efficient, effective services to all Philadelphians; regardless of if they live in the Northeast or Southwest; if they're a new transplant or if their family has lived here for generations.
That may sound like a "back to basics" approach. But, in reality, it is as large and as difficult a goal as has ever been announced on this stage.
Providing efficient and effective services means that our government has to be ethical and open with taxpayers about the work they pay us to do.
Providing efficient and effective services means educating all our children where they live. Our kids should not have to wake up before dawn and take three different buses to get to a good school. But in order to make quality schools in every neighborhood a reality, we will need the private sector and our nonprofit partners to come together with the city to create community schools.
Providing efficient and effective services also means that everyone feels that they can walk the streets safely and with dignity. But in order to make that a reality in Philadelphia, we will have to all put aside our differences and acknowledge both: that black lives do matter, and that the overwhelming majority of our police are decent, hardworking public servants who risk their lives every day. We just need to give them the tools to establish strong relationships with the communities they are sworn to protect and serve.
Furthermore, providing efficient and effective services means that parents working two or three jobs will not live in poverty. But in order to create a living-wage economy: our large, corporate banks will have to invest in our small, neighborhood businesses, our C-suite executives will have to hire our returning citizens, and we will have to stop pitting the growth of blue-collar jobs at the port against white-collar jobs in our hospitals and tech firms - we have to do both.
To achieve this vision, we will all have to work together. Government simply cannot do it alone - we need our businesses, our nonprofits, our universities and everyday Philadelphians to come together and row in the same direction.
That kind of unity may seem impossible to some, but there are so many Philadelphians who are already doing it. There are volunteer mentors who go to South Philly High School every day to keep our kids in school and off the streets. . . . There are community activists who organize so that we are all forced to acknowledge and do something about injustice in our society. There are community development corporations that work with neighbors and developers to make sure that our city grows but doesn't lose our oldest residents in the process.
So, to those Philadelphians and all the rest who have entrusted me with this great responsibility, thank you. I promise to serve you, to be accountable to you and, most importantly, to work with you. So we can make every Philadelphia neighborhood the best that it can be.