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Kenney gets early endorsements

Councilman Jim Kenney has already picked up a labor endorsement in the mayoral race, even though he hasn't officially, technically, formally announced his candidacy.

Councilman Jim Kenney has already picked up a labor endorsement in the mayoral race, even though he hasn't officially, technically, formally announced his candidacy, due to Philadelphia's "stupid rules."

The National Union of Hospital and Health Care Employees District 1199C is now backing him.

"Jim Kenney has been a lifelong advocate for Philadelphia's working families. He comes from a union home as the son of firefighter and he's earned his own union card at age 17. Jim has worked to protect bargaining rights and has always been a straight talker and in his approach with labor," District 1199C President Henry Nicholas said in a statement today. "He has the experience and values to move this city forward for all Philadelphians, and I strongly urge him to run for mayor."

Kenney spokeswoman Lauren Hitt said the district represents about 23,000 workers.

Nicholas was pushing for Kenney to enter the mayor's race during a labor meeting last week. The meeting was hosted by John "Johnny Doc" Dougherty, leader of Local 98 of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers. Dougherty has called called Kenney a "dark horse" candidate with a real shot at winning the race.

Doc told the Inquirer's Chris Brennan that labor leaders representing police, firefighters, blue-collar workers and others aren't thrilled with the declared candidates, former District Attorney Lynne Abraham, former Common Pleas Court Judge Nelson Diaz, and State Sen. Anthony Williams.

Mark Segal, publisher of the Philadelphia Gay News, also released the following statement today. Sounds pretty much like an endorsement:

"All things must come to an end, and they need to be followed by progress. So it is with the resignation of Jim Kenney from Philadelphia's City Council and his expected announcement next week. Kenney has been a friend of the LGBT community and it's struggle for equality for over 25 years, and has sponsored, co-sponsored or supported every LGBT equality measure in Council for the last 23 years. So it is a sad day to see that part of his public service end.

"And with his resignation we look forward to the next step in his efforts to create progressive policy's that move Philadelphia in the right direction for not only Philadelphia's citizens of today, but makes Philadelphia a city for the next generation.

"We in the LGBT community welcome the next chapter in Jim Kenney's life of public service."

The Philadelphia Family Unity Network also issued a statement supportive of Kenney. PFUN's members are 1Love Movement, Juntos, New Sanctuary Movement of Philadelphia, the Pennsylvania Immigration and Citizenship Coalition and Victim/Witness Services of South Philadelphia.

PFUN worked with Kenney to end immigrant detentions known as ICE holds.

"We encourage him to continue prioritizing the needs of immigrant communities in his future endeavors," PFUN's statement said.

Clarification: PFUN has not endorsed Kenney for mayor. The group's statement was in honor of his resignation from City Council.