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Politics, gender often clash in Philly government

During Women’s History Month, well-known women’s advocate tells Metro that ‘time is ripe for female mayor.’ 

Councilwoman Blondell Reynolds Brown is miffed about politics in Philadelphia.

As one of the city’s leading proponents of creating opportunities for minorities and women, Reynolds Brown can't understand why City Council’s current members is nearly half women — seven out of 17 are; Reynolds Brown is the only woman elected to an at-large seat — but there has never been a female mayor.

“The time is ripe for a female Mayor,” she said in an interview with Metro.

No women are again running for mayor in this year’s election, but Reynolds Brown said she hasn’t ruled out 2015 to try becoming the first. She would be only the second woman in Philadelphia’s history to even run for mayor.

She is fervent in her belief that the Pennsylvania needs more women elected officials.“When women are not at the table, family and non-family issues do not get a hearing, says Reynolds Brown.

Presently, Pennsylvania ranks 47 out of 50 in the number of female elected officials. Reynolds Brown laments that “Pennsylvania ranks below Alabama and Mississippi.”

As a mother and former dancer, Councilwoman Blondell Reynolds Brown is most proud of authoring the strictest and most comprehensive bill in the nation that regulates the labeling of nutritional and calorie information for chain restaurants. Dr. Giridhar Mallya of the Philadelphia Health Department reports that Philadelphia is already seeing evidence that the law is having a positive effect on childhood obesity.

‘Turns her stomach’

Reynolds Brown is not enrolled in the DROP program and has voted in favor of legislation to eliminate DROP for elected officials. While acknowledging that the controversial DROP law that allows city council members to resign for a day to collect their pension benefits is legal, Reynolds Brown says. “It turns her stomach that council members took advantage of it. Invoking DROP is a misuse of their fiduciary duty to the citizens of Philadelphia.”

 
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