A PAIR OF LONGTIME political players, state Sen. Anthony Hardy Williams and former District Attorney Lynne Abraham, entered the 2015 Democratic primary election for mayor yesterday to little surprise but great fanfare.
Abraham, 73, went first, laying out a campaign platform of economic development, business-tax reform, public safety and improvements to education.
"If you want a leader who . . . has the experience to get things done, the grit, the desire and the courage to break some china along the way and turn Philadelphia into a great American city, I am your candidate," Abraham told about 300 people at the Franklin Institute.
Williams, 57, spoke a few hours later to about 200 people at the Independence Visitor Center on many of the same issues: the economy, job creation and improving education.
He urged the crowd to chant his new slogan, "One Philadelphia," using that theme to decry the state of the city and the political establishment that runs it.
He spoke of elected officials turning police officers and residents against each other, and parents turning against parents for school resources for their children.
The crowd he spoke to was thick with the very political establishment - state and local elected officials - he described.
Asked how those politicians will react differently to Williams as mayor, he spoke of creating a "collective agenda" for them all.
"There have been moments under certain mayors where people have put down their interests, slowed down and figured out a way to get things done," he said. "It's not that we can't do it. I can't say it's never been done. But we don't do it as a pattern."
Abraham, a former Common Pleas Court judge and the first member of her family to attend college, was Philadelphia's longest-serving - and only female - district attorney.
She has been in private practice as a lawyer since she decided in 2009 not to seek another term as district attorney.
Williams was first elected to the state House in 1988 and then to the state Senate in 1998.
Williams was unopposed this year in the primary and general elections for his West Philly district in the state Senate.
His father, the late Hardy Williams, was considered the first serious black candidate for mayor when he ran in 1971. Williams, who died in 2010, also served in the state House and Senate.
His son choked up while speaking yesterday about that legacy.
"He shook up the world and changed the political landscape in Philadelphia forever when he announced his own candidacy for mayor nearly 43 years ago," said Williams, adding that his father's efforts "opened the doors for a whole new generation of African-Americans to get involved" in the city's politics.
Former City Solicitor Ken Trujillo and Terry Gillen, a former top aide to Mayor Nutter, have already entered the Democratic primary. Former City Solicitor Nelson Diaz and former state Sen. T. Milton Street Sr. have said they intend to run.
Doug Oliver, a PGW spokesman and former press secretary for Nutter, announced an exploratory committee for mayor Tuesday.