Mayor Kenney begs for unity during budget address
Mayor Kenney released his second budget and Five-Year Plan, asking members of City Council to approve new investments in two key areas: health and human services that will uplift our most vulnerable, and job-creating initiatives that will result in economic opportunity for all Philadelphians.
But his efforts to remain clouded by a persistent uneasiness that surrounds the city and Philadelphia's politics.
The liberal city is facing the greater forces of Harrisburg and Washington who seek to change the way the city operates and Mayor Kenney is determined to protect the city's most vulnerable constituents.
After presenting his budget to City Council formally, Mayor Kenney spoke of how he was feeling and what the city is facing in upcoming times.
“We don’t know what’s coming out of Washington and we don’t know what’s coming out of Harrisburg and everyday it’s something new and it’s not good. But the thing I am sure of is that all of us as Philadelphians, all of us who love the city and the diversity and strength of racial diversity, ethnic diversity, gender diversity, LGBTQ folks - all of us together are under attack and we need to stand up together as happened in the 60s.”
He went on to say, "I have never felt such instability and unsurity since 1968 when I was ten years old."
Speaking from his personal experience, and with great nostalgia and love for the city that is his home, the mayor told stories of what it felt like to be a child growing up in the city in the 60s and how he was dedicated to ensuring that the citizens of the city knew that he was there and would help them in their weakest moments.
"When I was ten years old in south Philadelphia at the height of the Vietnam war, Dr. King and Bobby Kennedy had been assassinated.[…] Kids in our neighborhood […] were coming back in black dropped coffins, one was my cousin. The neighborhood was torn apart, parents were fighting their kids about the Vietnam War. People were marching the streets to obtain the rights that were guaranteed to them in the constitution that were never provided. People were at each other and scare of each other. Ad afraid and I have not felt that way since then but I feel that way now. The thing that I thought about as I thought about that time in my life as a kid in South Philly is we got through. It passed. It all passed though nothing has happened […] We got through 1968 as a state, as a nation, as a city. We can get through anything," Kenney stated.
But despite the looming threats and negative circumstances, Kenney's dedication to the city of Philadelphia is unwavering, “I was born and raised in this city and I will leave life in this city,” stated the Mayor.
And while there has been speculation that his budget for the city has been conservative and that his plans are not progressive enough, his dedication to the cities most vulnerable may be the most progressive aspect of the budget address.
His final advice to a city underseige: "Stick together. Have each other’s back. And care for each other and march into the future together.”