The Mummer from South Philadelphia will be the next mayor of the city.

Jim Kenney, the longtime councilman whose branded himself as the guy who can bridge a gap between old and new Philadelphia, has officially won the general election to be mayor of Philadelphia.

Get to know Jim Kenney:

The basics

Age: 57

Background: Served as a Philadelphia City Councilman for more than 20 years

Lives in: Old City, but has roots in East Passyunk

The gist: Boy, has Jim Kenney evolved. This South Philly Irish Catholic Mummer once considered himself a moderate, but now he’s the progressives’ pick for mayor. He’s the one who championed the decriminalization of marijuana in Philly, and he’s now most focused on implementing universal Pre-K and advocating for blue-collar and manufacturing jobs to support working families. He’s garnered by far the most endorsements from groups ranging from black leaders to women to (mostly) big labor. But some wonder if he’s too close to the unions that have staunchly supported him.

Learn more: Read our extensive Q&A.

Here’s where he stands on the issues:


As a city councilman, Kenney championed the city’s marijuana decriminalization bill — so it’s safe to say he’d keep it around. Kenney’s been pretty open about toking up in the past, and says he would be open to taxing and regulating the use of recreational pot if it were to be legalized here in the city.


On stop-and-frisk: Ending the controversial practice is one of the pillars of Kenney’s campaign.

Other reforms: Kenney hopes to expand the use of proven methods like focused deterrence, outfit every uniformed police officer with a body camera and increase civil rights education for Philadelphia police officers.


Biking: Adopt a Vision Zero goal for the City of Philadelphia, which accepts that no traffic fatality is inevitable – whether pedestrian, bicyclist or driver. This includes increasing the number and safety of bike lanes throughout the city.

Ridesharing: Kenney is a big fan. While a councilman, he proposed hearings about ride-sharing in order to get UberX officially legalized.

Public transportation: Work with Harrisburg and Washington to fund an extension of the Broad Street Subway line to the economically bustling Navy Yard; work with SEPTA to renovate the City Hall and Suburban Station concourses so that they are safe, clean and inviting to passengers. Also: redesign and renovate Philadelphia’s bus shelter program.


Highlights of his plan:

  • Find the funding to provide access to high­-quality Pre-­K to three and four year old Philadelphians in need over the next three years
  • Facilitate partnerships with outside community organizations and local businesses to increase the resources available
  • Pursue the development of a community school model that provides services to children and their families
  • Work to make schools financially stable so that Harrisburg has no reason to continue to saddle Philadelphia with the SRC
  • Institute a moratorium on the SRC’s grant of any new charter schools until Harrisburg agrees to reimburse the District in full for charter costs.

Minimum wage

Kenney is on record saying he supports a $15 minimum wage for workers.

Technology and Innovation

Highlights of his plan:

  • Creating MYPHILA.GOV, a personalized site that will allow citizens to log on and see all the city services that they use at a glance, and offer ideas to better utilize city services.
  • Expand broadband access by promoting programs like Comcast’s Internet Essentials Program, offering low cost access for low income families.
  • Refine and improve the 311 system
  • Retain the position of Chief Data Officer, and finish implementation of the strategic plan and ensure that every City department that can is regularly providing data for public release.
  • Move to digitize more records, allowing citizens online access to documents and records that have previously required a visit to City Hall.

Energy and the Environment

Highlights of his plan:

  • Locating, cultivating and maintaining access to green space in every Philadelphia neighborhood
  • Make investments in making city buildings increasingly energy efficient
  • Update the city’s vehicle fleet and ensure that the vehicles purchased and put in service are safer for both the occupants, and for Philadelphians. These vehicles will get better gas mileage and run cleaner and longer than city vehicles have before.
  • Institute a Green Procurement Policy for the purchase of city goods
  • Further incentivize renewable energy
  • Reduce use of single-use bags and containers
  • Implement more green roof infrastructure
  • Develop more pervious surfaces

On the future of PGW: Kenney was on the City Council that killed the PGW deal, and he’s defended his inaction on it saying that, “we probably should have had a hearing.”

Anna Orso was a reporter/curator at Billy Penn from 2014 to 2017.