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John B. Kelly


Campaign website

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

Years ago, I served on a board of an institution that had a "Me Too" moment. Past misbehavior by a member came to light. As a board member, I thought our duty was clear: we needed to take action to indicate to our members and other constituents that we would not tolerate such behavior. My position put me at odds with some, and in the end cost me several long-term friendships. I still believe it was the right stand to take, out of respect for the victim and for the integrity of the organization. Voters can be assured that I take seriously the duties and responsibilities of any position of authority, such as public office. I will always put the interests of our city and its people first.

What would be your top three policy priorities in office?

1) Improving basic city services, from public safety to schools to clean streets.

2) Removing barriers to success for those trapped in multigenerational poverty due to underfunded schools and institutionalized racism and classism.

3) Environmental improvements that will create jobs, make our city a healthier place to live, and prepare Philadelphia for a low carbon energy world.

What sets you apart from other candidates?

I have 20 years of experience advising and financing municipal entities, and 13 years managing manufacturing firms, much of it specializing in turnaround situations. For 20 years, I've volunteered in leadership positions with the Fairmount Park Conservancy and a global environmental organization. As an environmentalist, I know that we need to take care of our planet. From my Quaker education at Penn Charter, I believe there is a divine spark in every individual, and that all deserve to be treated with dignity. Progressive ideas motivate me, and my extensive business experience gives me an understanding of the financial aspects of these policies.

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

Despite ideological differences, we all want safe and healthy communities. To get there, we need to listen to the different constituencies within our city, so we can understand their concerns and needs. And we also need to be good outward communicators, helping Philadelphians to understand why policies are enacted and what that means for them.

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?