Jamie Gauthier (Democrat)
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Jamie Gauthier (Democrat)


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

I’ve lived in West and Southwest Philadelphia for almost my entire life. My background as the daughter of a Caribbean immigrant mother and an African American father gives me a perspective that helps me serve the diverse Third District. My mom immigrated here in the 70s. She taught me the power of hard work, education, and building community. My dad taught me the history of African-Americans in Philadelphia and to value public service and justice. We can’t solve today’s biggest problems – gun violence, lack of affordable housing, or the need for good-paying jobs – without understanding our history: both the power of black communities and the legacies of racism, redlining, and disinvestment that still affect West and Southwest Philadelphians every day. He is an attorney who has always rejected using his degree for maximum profit in favor of a career of service, and he ran for DA as a progressive twice. Taking after my parents, my career has also been dedicated to serving my community. I’m raising my two sons in my district, and every day I work to make our District safer, more affordable, and full of opportunity for everybody. 

What would be your top three policy priorities in office?

1, Gun violence disproportionately affects my constituents in W/SW Philly. I have led efforts to declare a citywide emergency. We need community-led prevention programs, mental health and behavioral programs to help victims heal, workforce development to employ the most at-risk individuals & investments in rec centers, schools, libraries, and parks to create safe havens. I led a coalition to secure an historic $68 million for these initiatives, and I created #JustServicesPHL, bringing $30 million to equitably improve city services. Research has shown that interventions like cleaning, greening, and blight remediation can decrease gun violence by up to 30%. Mayoral candidates have said they’d enact an emergency. He/she can count on me being in their office on Day 1 to address gun violence.

2, I will keep fighting for working-class people to have safe, affordable housing. I created the Mixed Income Neighborhood program that requires responsible housing development, and I co-led a citywide program to stop unfair evictions.

3, I will prioritize workforce development, so economic growth, especially in the life sciences industry, doesn’t leave behind Black & brown working-class folks.

What sets you apart from other candidates?

I am the only urban planner on city council. How I became an urban planner also sets me apart. I was one of the minority of Black students in my program at Penn, and even among Black students, I was part of the minority who were from Philadelphia. I also had my first child while I was in school. It was alienating at times. That meant a lot of late nights studying, and I had to fight to prove I belonged. But my family’s values and roots in West and Southwest Philadelphia motivated me to succeed. As a council member, I focus on how better places can keep people safe and help them to thrive. Housing in equitable neighborhoods where people at every point of the income spectrum have access to abundant transit, quality public schools, well-maintained public spaces is the core of this agenda. I have also advocated for stronger and more targeted placed-based interventions (cleaning, greening, lighting, blight remediation) on the blocks most crippled by gun violence. And lastly, as a district councilmember, I have used zoning – which shapes places and communities – in creative ways to protect and create more affordable housing. 

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

I work for nearly 160,000 constituents across the ideological spectrum while holding onto my progressive values. I bring people together to get work done even if we disagree – e.g. my resolution to declare a gun violence emergency passed Council unanimously with support from all 3 political parties. I worked with CM Quiñones-Sánchez to create the Mixed Income Neighborhood overlay for affordable housing, and I’ve worked with former CM Gym and CM Brooks to protect renters and stop unfair evictions. Because of their commitment to fair elections, I respect Republican former-City Commissioner Schmidt and supported the appointment of Commissioner Bluestein. During protests for racial justice, I stood on 52nd street listening to my constituents and de-escalating tensions with the police. I spoke to the police that day who asked me to help, and I put the protestors on the phone with the Mayor when they asked me to. I do not always see eye to eye with the Chamber of Commerce, but I am working with them to bring job training to W/SW Philly. I will continue working with anyone who can help solve the gun violence crisis, ensure access to affordable housing, and bring good jobs. 

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