Kendra Brooks (Working Families Party)
Committee of Seventy Logo
English Arabic Chinese (Simplified) French Spanish Vietnamese

Kendra Brooks (Working Families Party)


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

My commitment to housing as a human right comes from my firsthand experience with housing insecurity. For seventeen years, I held a job with Easterseals, where I connected families with disabilities to important community programs and resources. Then, when Governor Tom Corbett cut funding for programs like these across the state, I lost my job and the families I had worked with for nearly two decades lost a life-sustaining program. I was raising four children, had student loans to pay, and struggled to make mortgage payments on my house. Suddenly and without adequate notice, I lost my house to sheriff sale and was on the brink of homelessness. This is why I spent my first term on City Council championing a groundbreaking eviction diversion program, reforming the rental application and screening process, advocating for rent control, and expanding access to affordable housing. It demonstrated for me that housing is not just where you sleep, it is the cornerstone of public health, financial stability, community safety, and childhood development — and it’s why I won’t stop fighting until every person in this city has access to safe, permanent, affordable housing.

What would be your top three policy priorities in office?


My top priority for my second term is building a city where every resident feels safe in their neighborhood. As a North Philadelphian, I know gun violence is the result of a collapse of opportunities, relationships, and our social safety net. We must treat gun violence like the emergency it is and allocate resources accordingly. I believe in targeting resources to the blocks where the majority of violent incidents take place and making investments in communities that have been under-resourced for generations. Addressing the housing crisis will remain a top priority of mine. To build a city where everyone has what they need to thrive, we must aggressively fight evictions, displacement, and homelessness. This means expanding low-income and affordable housing, fighting gentrification, and giving community members a voice in neighborhood decisions. Lastly, I will continue to protect workers and build an economy that works for everyone. This means access to a living wage; safe and dignified treatment of workers; robust labor protections; and a tax structure that ensures public services are fully funded and everyone is paying their fair share.

What sets you apart from other candidates?


As the first-ever Working Families Party City Councilmember I carved my own path and wrote my own blueprints for what being a third party elected official means. I won a race that no one thought that I could win by running on the issues that matter to working families and bringing in people who are usually disillusioned with politics-as-usual. People power is what propelled me to victory in 2019, and it is what has enabled me to deliver on my promises over the past three years. I am not afraid to shy away from hard issues. Whether it’s winning emergency COVID-19 paid sick leave for frontline workers, demanding the ultra-rich pay their fair share, protecting our reproductive rights, or addressing rental housing discrimination — I will always stand up to powerful interests to do what’s right. As a community organizer, I know how to build winning coalitions, activate social movements, and pass legislation that materially improves people’s lives. In my second City Council term, I plan to continue delivering real, measurable outcomes for working families.

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

I am a natural coalition builder and trained restorative justice facilitator – both of which help me put politics aside and focus on how a given issue impacts people’s lives. As the sole Working Families Councilmember in City Hall, I am not beholden to any major party establishment. I pass legislation by building relationships that are grounded in a shared vision for change, and I have used that approach to win protections for low-wage workers, renters, and survivors of domestic violence. By bringing the voices of working people into City Hall and collaborating with my Council colleagues who represent that constituency, I have been able to win enormous victories for working people. When you are able to put labels and party politics aside, most people in Philadelphia want the same things. We all want a safe neighborhood for our children, a good job, an affordable house, good schools, and clean air. We all want access to healthcare when we are ill and care when we are old. While it can be difficult to see these core similarities, my background allows me to connect people across lines of difference and put the issues first.

The Committee of Seventy has partnered with the Carter Center to promote the Candidate Principles for Trusted Elections to improve the voting process, encourage honest leadership, and promote civic engagement. Do you support the Candidate Principles?