Written By: Arielle M. Arlan
Photos: Matt McGraw
The stage was set for the second mayoral debate between candidates Jim Kenney and Melissa Murray Bailey on Monday night. At Temple University’s Performing Arts Center, Kenney and Bailey had one hour to convince voters why you should pick them to be the next mayor of Philadelphia. It was another hour to convince voters to care.
One of the biggest issues discussed was how the candidates were going to bring jobs into the city. Bailey, forever the business woman, said she wanted to bring in big west coast and international companies to create jobs.
“Philly is a great place to be,” Bailey said as she promised, if elected, to convince companies to make the city their new homes.
Kenney relayed his plans to keep things local. Growing up in South Philadelphia, Kenney sees potential in the port and discussed how if they build up the ports and start to play a bigger role in the cargo industry, it would naturally create jobs.
Infrastructure was another big topic. Both candidates believed that Philadelphia needs some fixing-up, but had different ideas on how to do it.
“We need all hands on deck to fill potholes,” said Kenney.
Bailey said she wanted to make the water mains a priority.
“We need to prioritize the safety of our citizens,” Bailey said.
The candidates were asked what cities they would look to as examples to improve the city. Bailey said we should look at Los Angeles and the redesign of their school system while Kenney referenced Boston and Chicago to find ways to make the city more green.
Bailey said she wanted to end the apparent “pay to play” problem in City Hall.
“People shouldn’t have to wheel and deal with city departments,” said Bailey.
Kenney called out the city’s most influential corporation, Comcast, saying that they should extend their internet services to the entire city.
“Your zip code should not determine your potential,” Kenney said. “Comcast should make internet access available to all.”
One thing both Kenney and Bailey agreed on was the possibility of some car-less days in the city, that more foot traffic could benefit small businesses. Both also said that Philadelphians should take more advantage of public transportation.
The debate was mostly tame, just a back and forth of personal ideas about issues that face the city. Bailey did call out Kenney one time about his plan to revamp the ports, pointing out that the Holt family, a port operator, was also one of Kenney’s major donors. Kenney returned the jab by referencing Bailey’s plan to fix the water and gas pipe system, saying it would waste time and money.
Each candidate had a clear message on how they’re going to tackle issues that face Philadelphia, it’s also clear they both had differing ideas on execution. Bailey wants to use her business ties to bring bigger corporations into the city, create jobs and stimulate the local economy. Kenney wants to keep things local, help small businesses and expand industries that Philadelphia already has but expand them to a national stage.
Election Day isn’t until November 3, but you can follow the race on Twitter with #NextMayorPHL.