For the last two years I've toured Philadelphia, spoken with residents, analyzed the issues, and worked toward making Philadelphia, as described by National Geographic, the "next great city." I've consistently spoken about the need to curb pay-to-play politics, which I believe are draining necessary resources from hiring new police, producing more affordable housing, and improving schools. Philadelphians believe, as I do, that we must change the political culture in City Hall in order to move Philadelphia forward.

I've financed my own campaign to demonstrate that, as mayor, I won't be beholden to special interests or the political machine, which has responded with negative attacks and dirty tactics. I'll have the independence to make tough decisions and drive the legislative process to fix the problems that face Philadelphia. Most important, I have the needed experience in hiring top-flight employees to ensure that City Hall is run by men and women with character, ethics, integrity, and a willingness to hold themselves and those around them accountable.

Growing up in Abbotsford Public Housing, I was told again and again that I would never amount to anything. Through hard work and the opportunity given to me by the city of Philadelphia, I achieved more success than I could ever have dreamed. Today, pay-to-play politics is preventing the city from extending the same kind of opportunity to families in need. I'm running to take the "for sale" sign off City Hall because I haven't forgotten where I came from. I'm running for my mother, and every mother who needs a helping hand. I'm running for my brother, and every family that's suffered the loss of a loved one to drugs. The time has come to turn the page on the politics of the past, and I'm asking every Philadelphian to help me do it.