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Streets Dept’s 2019 Philly Primary Endorsements

May 20, 2019

Election day is tomorrow, Philadelphia: Tuesday, May 21st, 2019. The polls are open from 7am-8pm. You can find out where you vote here… But do you know who you’ll be voting for or what will be on the ballet?

As any longtime follower of Streets Dept likely knows, for many years now I’ve been trying to use my various platforms to talk about and promote civic engagement on both the local and national scale. In 2014 I successfully petitioned SEPTA to return late night subway and el service to Philadelphia. In 2015 I worked on a project called Next Stop: Democracy aimed at encouraging greater voter turnout in municipal elections. In 2016 I helped commission a Bernie Sanders mural in Philly (though I lean more towards Warren for 2020, if you were wondering) as a symbol for progressive policies. Also in 2016 I worked on a campaign to help reduce youth homelessness in Philly with Covenant House PA. In 2017 I co-organized Collective Action, a silent art auction to raise money for 10 local and national social justice organizations in the wake of Trump’s election. As well I co-organized Signs of Solidarity, a city-wide public art protest in opposition to hate and divisiveness that took place the weekend of Trump’s Inauguration. And starting in 2017 I even began endorsing candidates running for office. That first candidate I endorsed was Larry Krasner for District Attorney. And over the last year and a half I’ve interviewed a few key politicians on my podcast: Helen Gym, Rebecca Rhynhart, and Malcolm Kenyatta.

I remind you of all that to show you and any new readers where my head and my heart are at. Suffice it to say, I am deeply interested in using my platforms to promote good causes and progressive leaders. And this year, I’m taking the next step to build a full sample ballot with a list of endorsements for Philadelphia’s 2019 Primary Election.

Click here for a Sample Ballot with my 2019 endorsements that you can save to your phone. Below that I’ve written out my endorsements with a bit of more context for each office. I’ve built this list over the last several months and particularly in the last week as more and more key endorsements came out and as the race continued to come into focus.

Last but not least, I will not be endorsing a mayoral candidate. Namely because I think Kenney will win, and I’m not a huge fan of either of his primary opponents. None of them seem like the right leaders for a quickly changing Philadelphia that is doing so little to take the influx of money and interest in our city and use it to truly address our city’s monumental problem of wealth inequality. My hope is that a new City Council can work as a driver for this kind of change.


This was really tough, honestly there are a number of really great, qualified candidates, but after a lot of consideration I’ve landed on the following five as a great mix of candidates to face what I think are Philadelphia’s current biggest challenges. With their experience and proposed agendas, I think these are the best five to work to address our city’s vast unjust economic divide and expand opportunity for longtime residents, support our most vulnerable communities, support our city’s children and public education, and better invest in our city’s overall public life and infrastructure including parks, recreation centers, and public transit.
–Helen Gym (#56)
–Erika Almirón (#68)
–Justin DiBerardinis (#80)
–Isaiah Thomas (#71)
–Adrian Rivera-Reyes (#54)

Chances are very good that if your district has a challenger you’ve heard about it and have made up your mind. So many district seats run unchallenged. That said, the woman below would be an incredible addition to City Council, if you happen to live in the 3rd District, so I wanted to make a special call out for her. 
–Jamie Gauthier (#85)

This is one of those seemingly small offices that most people likely don’t think about too much, but the commissioners’ office is literally in control of every single election from making sure we use the best voting machines to making sure each polling location is well staffed. And perhaps even more importantly, this office has the unique responsibility to work in between election to drive voter registration and engagement. As we head into 2020’s Presidential Election and Pennsylvania becomes the must-win state, this will be one of the most important jobs in the entire country. I really can’t overstate this. We need the people in this office to be dedicated to driving voter turnout and in making sure our election systems are secure. I have so much confidence in the following two candidates to do just that. Please click here and take a minute to watch this video I created with one of the candidates below to learn more about just how critical this office is!
–Jen Devor (#45)
–Kahlil Williams (#40)

The following three offices are for judges. This was quite honestly the toughest group for me, as I’m sure it is for you. Particularly with the Court of Common Pleas, where so many people are running, there’s not a ton of information on these candidates. Most people I’ve talked to and who I trust seem to agree that the Philadelphia Bar‘s recommendations are a great resource, so looked at that. I also paid close attention to Reclaim Philadelphia and 2nd Ward Democrats‘ judge endorsements, in addition to a few friends like Rudy Flesher (who’s been making reliable endorsements for elections for the last few years.)

Ultimately, I’m now pretty confident in my choices for judges below, but damn y’all we probably shouldn’t be electing judges. And Pennsylvania is one of only eight states that elect judges through partisan elections at all. Even John Oliver’s talked about the issue of electing judges. Nevertheless, this is where we are and these are the candidates I’ll be voting for.

Judge of the Superior Court
–Amanda Green-Hawkins (#3)
–Daniel D. McCaffery (#2)

Judge of the Court of Common Pleas
–Henry McGregor Sias (#21)
–Tiffany Palmer (#23)
–Kay Yu (#27)
–Anthony Kyriakakis (#19)
–Cateria R. McCabe (#15)
–Jennifer Schultz (#4)

Judge of the Municipal Court 
–David H. Conroy (#29)

After looking into all the candidates, this became a pretty easy choice!
–Tracey Gordon (#47)

As well, after looking into the candidates I was torn between Malika Rahman and Rochelle Bilal, but after reading more on both of them and watching a few interviews, I’m leaning Malika. 
–Malika Rahman (#51)

–”YES” to ballot Questions #1, #2, and #3; “NO” to ballot Question #4

I’m recommending a “NO” vote on ballot Question #4 because it’s just too vague. It’s supposed to be about protecting pedestrians and bikers from car traffic, which I’d love (I mean I was hit by cars twice in my life, breaking my leg once then my arm years later.) And this ballot question has some pretty broad support even from folks I love like the Bicycle Coalition. But there’s currently no information about how this would be implemented and just how broad of a reach they might have, so I have to vote no. Check out this Twitter thread about this question, if you’d like more information.

One Comment leave one →
  1. Lauren Parker permalink
    May 21, 2019 7:59 am

    Ballot question #4 should be a YES. The traffic cops it proposes are the key to getting protected bike lanes. The protected bike lanes likely won’t be approved without the traffic officers this ballot question vaguely proposes. Please vote YES.

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