What is one life experience you have that voters should know about?
As a lifelong Philadelphia resident, I have witnessed the immense issues surrounding discrimination and racism within City laws. I have, personally, been stopped by police more times than I can count. Knowing first-hand the issues surrounding discrimination in traffic stops I introduced the Driving Equality Bills. These bills seek to address this tension by removing negative interactions while keeping the traffic stops that promote public safety. The Driving Equality Agenda reclassifies certain motor vehicle code violations as one of two categories: a “primary violation,” which allows an officer to conduct a traffic stop in the name of public safety; or a “secondary violation,” in which a traffic stop would no longer be used for enforcement. The bill mandates the collection and publication of all traffic stops in Philadelphia to closely monitor that we are not compromising public safety while evaluating that primary violations are not being used to discriminate against people of color. This groundbreaking process brought all parties to the negotiating table to ensure that this civil rights issue is elevated without compromising on the safety and well-being of Philadelphia.
What would be your top three policy priorities in office?
As the education chair, I have a focus on school climate, culture, and curriculum. I want to increase transparency and communication between the city, school district, and private/charter schools. In my visits to schools, I have many issues with school infrastructure, outside of more than just the classrooms, huge sports facilities and sites are understaffed, underfunded, and dramatically rundown. In addition, I want to focus on responsible and community-centered economic development. In the fall of 2020, I introduced the Keep It Local law that requires local business usage and raises reporting requirements in the City of Philadelphia’s procurement process, as cities reimagine economic prosperity. I also want to continue to promote the arts and culture community with financial incentives, like the Illuminate the Arts Grants I have spearheaded. I want to continue my support for the organized labor movement throughout our city. My staff member, the Community and Labor Liaison focuses solely on open communication with unions. Every piece of legislation that gets introduced from my office has been made in tandem with or with feedback from the corresponding unions/locals
What sets you apart from other candidates?
In no specific order, I am a Council Member, a father, and a coach, which I carry with me everywhere I go. Whether on the court, in my home, or in my City Hall office - my priority is always serving young people. I see my children and Philadelphia’s youngest constituents as a priority - not only for the future but for today. One of the main reasons I decided to run for office over a decade ago was the lack of resources available to our youth, which was directly affected by who was chosen to represent us. I believe this experience set me apart from other candidates because this role still remains to be an active part of my life and also helps inform many aspects of my legislative priorities. Understanding and seeing firsthand how the many policies and decisions we make as elected officials affect our youth and the most vulnerable is the truest test in understanding our impact. I am fortunate to witness this every day, which is why I continue to fight and advocate as hard as I do for truly impactful legislation.
How do you plan to work across ideological lines to achieve shared goals?
My experience as a basketball coach and player has taught me one of the most valuable lessons that I have used successfully in City Council - Teamwork. When working in the Legislative body, nothing can be done alone, and that has pushed me to build great relationships with all members, no matter what their political affiliation. As seen in my first term, most, if not all, legislation introduced by my office was passed unanimously. This is due to my commitment to ensuring the introduction of quality legislation but also because of my willingness to educate, create avenues for transparency, and, most importantly, take constructive criticism. These skills will allow me to continue to get things done for the city, no matter who my Council colleagues or teammates may be.
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