Mayor Jim Kenney announced his campaign for re-election Sunday morning with a new video.
Public school teacher John Coates praised Kenney’s efforts in pushing for better schools. "Mayor Kenney is the people's champion because he's in the schools,” Coates said. “He just doesn't send someone out to the schools. He has been in the schools himself. It helps us to know that there is someone that is on our side that really cares about our needs and concerns."
After recognizing that the Philadelphia School District will accumulate a deficit that will balloon to $1 billion by 2023, Kenney dissolved the School Reform Commission and created a new, nine-member Board of Education in its place to help reform Philly schools.
In addition to his work the improve the Philly school system, Kenney has been a proponent for maintaining Philadelphia's status as a sanctuary city. Sanctuary cities have been targets for President Donald Trump’s administration, avid supporters of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) in apprehending residents that are not legal citizens.
In June 2018, the Supreme Court voted against Philadelphia and other sanctuary cities losing federal funding because of their status. According to a Metro article on the ruling, Kenney called it an “important moment for all Philadelphians, especially our immigrant community.”
Kenney’s tenure has not been without its flaws. In July 2018, Kenney was the center of a controversy surrounding the Made In America music festival, an annual two-day concert experience that takes over Benjamin Franklin Parkway.
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After Kenney’s office said the festival would no longer have a home on Benjamin Franklin Parkway and did not initially present alternatives, festival founder and entertainment mogul Jay-Z wrote a pointed op-ed denouncing the mayor’s decision, citing the $102.8 million in economic impact as a primary reason for Made In America to continue.
Kenney and Jay-Z quickly made amends and publicly stated that Made In America will continue for years to come.
Philadelphians will vote in primary mayor elections on May 21, 2019 and vote in general elections for mayor on Nov. 5, 2019.