Being mayor of the whole city begins by reaching out to the whole city.
Throughout this campaign, I have attended virtually every forum, answered every questionnaire and survey, and held meet-and-greets in every neighborhood. I have demonstrated my genuine interest in embracing the people, the neighborhoods and the concerns of this entire city, and that is a basic qualification for the job of mayor. And in reaching out, I have emphasized three leadership values that can unite this great city of ours:
As we learned so well from Ed Rendell, a successful mayor is a great communicator who will listen to us and can speak for us. A great mayor must seek out and take to heart the concerns of his or her constituents.
This two-way communication is the core of my government experience. During my 15 years on City Council, I never passed a bill by myself. It takes nine votes to pass legislation and 12 to override a veto. From the smoking ban to tax reform to the Police Advisory Commission to keeping libraries and recreation centers open, every piece of legislation I got passed required conversation and compromise, respect and trust.
Reaching agreement over hotly contested issues is the heart of the legislative process, and I have successfully forged agreements on the toughest issues facing this city: ethics reform, budgeting for more police on the streets, fixing our pension and health-benefits obligations, and insisting on more money for our schools. As mayor, I will continue to use these skills to work with City Council and all community leaders to tackle the tough issues facing Philadelphia.
The second leadership value that unites this great city of ours is respect for our differences: A great mayor unites the whole by knowing the pieces and knowing how to bring them together. Old and new Philadelphians, rich and poor, black and white, Latino and Asian, children and seniors - we all have a history and a future in Philadelphia. I am proud of the campaign we are running in this election. And I am proudest of the fact that I have the broadest base of support and that my supporters are coming from all corners of the city. In this election, we will prove that our differences need not divide us. Because the differences, which we celebrate in this city, do not mean that we want different things for our families and our futures: We all want safety, dignity and prosperity.
The third leadership value is passionate commitment. Governing is demanding and requires the persistence to see things through trying times. The status quo continues when leaders fail to commit and lead with passion. The pace I have sustained in this campaign is a measure of my commitment. I gave up my job on City Council to run for mayor full time and have stayed full speed ahead for 10 months. I have greeted morning commuters at transit stops for months, and I have attended more mayoral forums than any of my opponents. Take this as evidence of my passion for Philadelphia. My pace and my passion will continue every day that I am in the mayor's office.
This is my understanding of leadership: honest communication, respect for diversity, and the unflagging commitment to work for the people of Philadelphia every day. I believe these values are the essential qualities for being mayor of the whole city of Philadelphia, and I have them.