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FunTimes Magazine

Richardson Elected to City Council At-Large

By Ayana Jones

Katherine Gilmore Richardson aims to make history as the youngest woman ever elected to serve as a city councilwoman at-large. She was elected to the position on Nov. 5.

The 35-year-old takes office at a time when the city is in the midst of a pivotal moment.

“Philadelphia is soaring to new heights, but we are leaving a lot of people behind,” stated the mother of three children.

“In our city, the number one predictor of your life expectancy is the zip code in which you live. Thinking about where we are with the zip code disparities as it relates to life expectancy, being a wife and a mother and having children in the public school system and the culmination of my career of service was the impetus of what led me to run.”

She will assume the at-large office of her mentor, City Councilwoman Blondell Reynolds Brown. Richardson spent more than a decade working for the councilwoman, where she formerly served as her chief of staff. She helped secure passage of bills that improved the quality of life for seniors, families, and children. Reynolds Brown, who has served on council for 20 years, has been a staunch advocate for children’s issues and a champion for health and wellness.

Richardson was born to a South Philadelphia teenaged girl and adopted by James and Pastor Lorraine Gilmore. She grew up in Wynnefield and graduated from Philadelphia High School for Girls. After graduating from West Chester University, Richardson began her career as a substitute teacher for the School District of Philadelphia.

Richardson said her long career of service and experience working in the city government makes her uniquely qualified to serve as a councilwoman. “I know what it takes to move our city forward and how we can be inclusive in moving our city forward,” Richardson stated. “I just think it’s important for people to understand that our city is changing and we need leaders who understand how to navigate city government, to make it work on behalf of others - who know to build broad-based coalitions to actually get legislation passed. At the end of the day, we have to fight for what we want the future of Philadelphia to look like.”

Supporting career and technical education and investing in the city’s commercial corridors will be a focal point of her legislative agenda. Richardson wants to help young people get on the pathway to employment while they are still in high school, something she says can help address poverty in Philadelphia over time.

“On top of that, we have a lot of people who are still unemployed or underemployed particularly in the African American community and the only way we can help them be put into positions for new opportunities is to help them gain the skills for those opportunities,” she added.

Richardson looks forward to making history as one of the first two millennials and the youngest African woman to ever be elected to City Council. “It’s not just about making history, but it’s about making a difference while making that history,” she stated.

Richardson wants to support the next generation of leaders who are coming down the pipeline after her.“The only way that we can do this successfully and effectively is if we build a bench for the next generation of young people as Blondell Reynolds Brown did for me,” she added.