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Philadelphia is facing an historic and pivotal political moment

Nov 01, 2023 10:00AM ● By Karen Warrington

Image: Councilmember Cherelle Parker and Councilmember David Oh. Source: Wikimedia Commons

In November voters will cast their ballots for the 100th mayor of Philadelphia, an historic northeastern American city. The 2023 Democratic and Republican mayoral candidates are Cherelle Parker, an African American and David Oh, an Asian American. Therefore, the city is poised to be headed up by its first African American female mayor or its first Asian American mayor. 

The upcoming general election is being held in the city that served as the new nation’s capital from 1790 to 1800 while also being the site of the nation’s first executive mansion where President George Washington enslaved at least eight Black people. 

Democrat Cherelle Parker was raised by her grandparents and she says her mission as a public servant is to bridge the gap between the “haves” and the “have nots." After beginning her professional life as a public-school teacher, she served as a representative in the Pennsylvania State Legislature for 10 years and seven years as a Philadelphia Councilperson before announcing her candidacy for mayor. She says her campaign is based on both her professional experience and her “lived life” experience as a child growing up in a family living on the economic edge. 

A Republican, David Oh is an attorney and he was an At-Large member of Philadelphia City Council for eight years before declaring his intention to run for the mayor’s seat. He has identified himself as a law-and-order candidate who also served as an assistant district attorney. Oh’s campaign spotlights his travel to South Korea to discuss investment opportunities between Philadelphia and the South Korean government. He also has promoted Philadelphia as a globally competitive city. Oh’s father, Rev. Ki Hang Oh, founded the first Korean American church in Philadelphia.

 As the November 7th Election Day fast approaches, Democrats hold a nearly 7 to 1 voter registration advantage and this stat bodes well for a Parker victory in a city that presently has the distinction of being the poorest of American major cities.

 So, when all the votes have been counted, Philadelphia’s 100th mayor will face major big city problems: a failing school system; rampart gentrification; opioid addiction; the search for a new police commissioner; stagnant wage growth and inner city unemployment.

 That being said, all are hopeful that voters fully understand the importance of their vote because so much is at stake in this historic election. At the end, either Philadelphia will gain its first African American female mayor or its first Asian American mayor.

 Karen Warrington has had a decades long career as a broadcast journalist, communications professional, performing artist, and documentary filmmaker. She has traveled extensively throughout Africa, the Caribbean, Europe, and Asia. She is committed to being a voice for the African Diaspora.

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