Isaiah Thomas is an incumbent Democratic at-large member of City Council, seeking reelection for the first time.
After a historically strong primary — Thomas was only the second Council candidate since the 80s to garner over 100,000 votes in a Democratic primary — the 39-year-old’s road to a second term seems to be secure.
When you look at the span of his first term, it’s not hard to understand why the Northwest Philly native appears to be a consensus choice.
Thomas has taken stances across local Democrats’ ideological spectrum, from forwarding law enforcement reforms to voting for the reduction of wage and business taxes. In the face of the pandemic, Thomas helped craft programs that aimed to protect local workers and boost local businesses.
Thomas’s campaign even united divergent factions currently having it out in the political sphere: He’s been endorsed by both the Democratic City Committee and the Working Families Party.
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After graduating from Penn in 2007, he began as a legislative assistant to former state representative Tony Payton, then became the executive director of Philadelphia Freedom Schools. Thomas unsuccessfully ran for Council twice in 2011 and 2015 before winning his first term in 2019.
He was previously an adjunct professor at Lincoln University, a Democratic committeeperson, worked for the City Controller’s Office, and was involved in community-based endeavors such as coaching youth basketball — a role he still holds down while in office.
This cycle, Thomas is touting his record on public safety, education, and city services among other issues — topline topics according to recent polling on local issues. Currently chair of the City Council Committee on Education, Thomas has pushed for increased out-of-school programming for Philly’s youth, so students can have safe places to recreate and learn.
Recently, Thomas introduced a suite of policies meant to aid the dozens of Philadelphians who’ve been exonerated and released after being wrongfully imprisoned.
The change he envisions includes increased access to housing, secondary education, help with applying for city and state services, and an emergency reentry fund for the exonerated — something the state of Pennsylvania doesn’t currently offer. Bills related to the package are currently working their way through Council.
Thomas’s campaign finance situation
Thomas’s most recent campaign finance filings show that he has $192,985 in the bank to support his reelection.
A few PACs, including the Friends of Kenyatta Johnson, the General Building Contractors Association, the American Airlines PAC, and others have chipped in to support him in recent months, and he’s received a healthy amount of small-dollar donations. Notable names like FS Investments’ Michael Forman and former Councilmember John White can also be found among a list of his fiscal supporters.