Philadelphia City Councilmember Kendra Brooks on Monday endorsed U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders for the Democratic presidential nomination.
Brooks had declined to take sides in the primary when U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren was still in the race. But with the Massachusetts Democrat dropping out last week following a disappointing Super Tuesday, Brooks has thrown in her lot with Sanders.
“For working families in Philadelphia, the choice is clear. Rent and housing prices are rising. We face multiple environmental disasters and unhealthy schools. Our healthcare system is complacent with a mortality rate for Black mothers that is unconscionable, an issue Senator Warren lifted up during her campaign,” Brooks said in a statement. "There is only one candidate in this race who is supportive of a Homes Guarantee, a Green New Deal, and Medicare for All, and that’s Bernie Sanders.”
Like Brooks, Sanders is not a Democrat and has clashed with the party’s centrist establishment as well as with Republicans. Sanders is an independent from Vermont who caucuses with Democrats in the Senate. Brooks last year ran for Council as a member of the progressive Working Families Party.
Warren in September endorsed Brooks in her historic third-party Council victory, an unusual move for an out-of-state politician. The national Working Families Party endorsed Warren soon after, angering Sanders supporters.
“I was fortunate to have the support of Senator Elizabeth Warren and will be forever grateful for her voice,” Brooks said in the statement announcing her support of Sanders.
Brooks joins Helen Gym as the only Council members who have endorsed Sanders.
Two other Council members had previously endorsed Warren: Isaiah Thomas and Jamie Gauthier. Thomas said he is declining to publicly endorse a candidate now that Warren has dropped out. Gauthier couldn’t immediately be reached for comment.
The two Council members who had endorsed former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, however, are on the same page about their second choice. Both Curtis Jones Jr. and Mark Squilla said that they are now supporting Biden.
Below is a rundown of where the 15 non-Republican members of Council stand. We’ll keep it updated as things change.
The Pennsylvania primary is April 28.
Mark Squilla, 1st District: Joe Biden (previously supported Mike Bloomberg)
“If you look at somebody who’s been an official, who’s been on the ground and dealing with issues his whole career, somebody we could relate to as an elected official, somebody who understands the diversity of our city and the complications of the problems we deal with, I think he’s the best candidate to be able to do that.”
Kenyatta Johnson, 2nd District: Undecided
Johnson “is still looking and listening to his constituents, and he is researching the presidential candidates as far as their stand on poverty gun violence, affordable housing and clean and green issues,” spokesperson Vincent Thompson said.
Jamie Gauthier, 3rd District: Elizabeth Warren
“I’m all in for Elizabeth Warren. ... I love her vision for the country," Gauthier said. "We’ll see what happens, but I do think she’s smart not only on policy but in the way she’s running and managing her campaign, and so I’m with her, and I’m with her for the long haul.”
Curtis Jones Jr., 4th District: Biden (previously supported Bloomberg)
“I’m going to fall in line for a unified party. Super Tuesday told me that Joe Biden could be a unifier."
Council President Darrell L. Clarke, 5th District: Undecided
“I’m still in a process of making up my mind, if anybody cares," Clarke said. "The bottom line is whoever I ultimately support and whoever ultimately is our nominee, I will give my full-throated attention and support to as a Democrat. ... [Sanders’] policies don’t reflect the policies that I have supported over the years. As Council president and as the chair of the budget committee, I’m a fiscally prudent individual. I always have questions when people propose things without showing how we are going to pay for it. Real simple math. But at the end of the day, it’s all about who will be the most viable candidate in November. That’s the bottom line. And hopefully we’ll get our act together and not do what Democrats do.”
Bobby Henon, 6th District: No response
Henon could not immediately be reached for comment.
Maria Quiñones Sánchez, 7th District: Undecided
“Leaning Warren,” she said.
Cindy Bass, 8th District: Biden
“I’m supporting Vice President Biden. ... He’s got the most experience across the board," Bass said. "He’s served our country for longer than most of these folks have ever even thought about serving our country. I’m disturbed by some of the other candidates and some of the negativity they have spoken about former President Obama, about African Americans, about people of color. Specifically, Bloomberg. I would also say Bernie Sanders. There’s been a number of folks who haven’t necessarily supported President Obama’s agenda when he was president. As a strong Obama supporter, that’s very important to me.”
Cherelle Parker, 9th District: Undecided
“I have not made an official endorsement. ... Aside from being a Councilperson, I’m the ward leader for the 50th Ward in Northwest Philadelphia," Parker said. "Full disclosure for me: I am not impressed with Iowa’s caucuses or New Hampshire. They have never been what has been an indicator for me about who I should be thinking about endorsing or which candidates reflect issues of importance that people are talking about in the communities I represent.”
Allan Domb, at-large: Undecided
“I haven’t really committed to anyone yet. ... I’m still waiting to see," Domb said. "It’s too early for me. Things could change.”
Kathy Gilmore Richardson, at-large: Undecided
“I purposefully have not endorsed," Richardson said. "I am looking at all the candidates. ... My consternation is between Biden and Warren. I will say this: I’m not for Bloomberg. I think he’s trying to buy this election. He does not deserve to be a part of this process. He has a horrific record around stop and frisk, and we should not, as Democrats, allow him to interject himself into this process, so that we can try to wrap this up before the convention.”
Derek Green, at-large: Undecided
“I have not made a decision on where I am," Green said. "I am still evaluating all the candidates. The [Pennsylvania] primary is April 28. ... There’s aspects of multiple candidates that I like. ... I would love if we could make a composite and take parts of all the candidates, but I’m waiting to see how things turn out.”
Helen Gym, at-large: Sanders
“It wasn’t a difficult choice," Gym said. I come out of movements that have reshaped the political map here in Pennsylvania. ... I’ve seen movements reshape our city and state, and I believe in the power of movements to reshape our country. Bernie Sanders doesn’t just talk about movements for change. He leads them.”
Isaiah Thomas, at-large: Declined to endorse (previously supported Warren)
“When you look at her policy positions, when you look at her innovative ideas, I think she’s the best fit for the job, and I also think it’s important that we empower women, too," Thomas said. "I think that’s a message and a narrative that we want to promote as often as possible, especially when we’re talking about the executive branch of government.”
Kendra Brooks, at-large Working Families Party: Sanders
“For working families in Philadelphia, the choice is clear. Rent and housing prices are rising. We face multiple environmental disasters and unhealthy schools. Our healthcare system is complacent with a mortality rate for Black mothers that is unconscionable....There is only one candidate in this race who is supportive of a Homes Guarantee, a Green New Deal, and Medicare for All, and that’s Bernie Sanders.”
Earlier, she was neutral, Brooks said, “Whatever Democrat is going into the November election, I’ll support them wholeheartedly."