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John Thomas


Campaign website

What is one life experience you have that voters should know about?

I was born in a small Alabama town with a population of less than 30,000 people. I moved to Philadelphia as a teenager seeking a better education and opportunities. While in high school, I trained as an amateur boxer, which I credit with providing me with the confidence and discipline to focus on my education and navigate the tough streets of Southwest Philadelphia, where I lived at the time. The confidence and discipline I learned as a teenager will serve me as I “Follow the Money” and ensure that your tax dollars are not wasted.

What would be your top three policy priorities in office?

With a dedicated and hardworking staff, the Controller's Office can perform all of its necessary auditing and fiscal safeguard functions, as well as proposing new ways to improve the functioning of city government. I would be laser focused on three areas:

  • Crime and Gun Violence
  • Educational Funding and school related issues
  • Diversity, equity and inclusion in the City’s contracting/procurement and staffing/hiring

What sets you apart from other candidates?


I have over 25 years of extensive experience in city and state government and if elected, I would be Philadelphia’s 1st African-American City Controller. Relevant experience:

  • Served as Deputy Philadelphia City Controller for over 12 years
  • Former Senior Analyst for the Philadelphia Gas Commission
  • Former Audit Manager for the Pennsylvania Auditor General’s Office
  • Legislative Assistant to former Councilwoman Marian Tasco

How do you plan to work across ideological lines to achieve shared goals?

I would utilize the concept of “dual competency” which I learned from James Spady, a former Fels executive director, at the University of Pennsylvania’s Fels Institute of Government. This concept emphasizes the importance of combining technical data, academics and policies with management, negotiations, and political skills for the common good. It is extremely important to understand that building bridges to achieve shared goals does not mean that you always agree with another person on ideological lines.

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