Cherelle Parker, a longtime state and local elected official who promised Philadelphia residents that she would aggressively tackle the city’s crime woes, was elected mayor Tuesday, according to The Associated Press, making her the first woman voted into the city’s highest office.
Viewed as more moderate than the other candidates in the Democratic primary in May, Ms. Parker, 51, pledged to hire hundreds more police officers and bring back what she called “constitutional” stop-and-frisk tactics. With registered Democrats vastly outnumbering Republicans in the city — the nation’s sixth most populous, with 1.6 million residents — Ms. Parker’s primary win gave her a significant advantage over the Republican nominee, David Oh, a former colleague of hers on the City Council.
No Republican has been elected mayor in Philadelphia since 1947, and recent nominees have typically received less than 20 percent of the vote.
Ms. Parker, a lifelong Philadelphian, will be the city’s 100th mayor. She is a former English teacher, state legislator and member of the City Council. In talking about how to address the city’s high levels of illegal drug use and violent crime, she has been open to the idea of asking the National Guard to help tackle the open-air drug market in the Kensington neighborhood. More than 500 people were killed in each of the past two years in Philadelphia, the highest number on record, though homicides, shootings and violent crimes have fallen this year.
Still, two-thirds of residents say the city is going in the wrong direction. Much of the violent crime has been concentrated in Black neighborhoods, and Ms. Parker said that as a Black woman and the mother of a Black son, she could identity with the struggles that many Philadelphians face.
Ms. Parker will succeed Mayor Jim Kenney, who was limited to two terms in office. He has become increasingly unpopular, and has been criticized for being less engaged and less visible than he was when he first took office.