Kenney attempts to reach Latino voters through immigration
Although most government offices were closed today due to the failed “snowpocalypse,” Councilman James Kenney decided to announce his resignation from Philadelphia City Council and unofficially announce his mayoral candidacy.
“I intend Thursday to be my last council session and resign that day. And I am not able to tell anybody here what I am going to do after that day, but clearly a resignation is a big step and it shows that I have an intention to move forward,” Kenney said to the media.
He mentioned Ken Trujillo leaving the mayoral race was an important factor, but also that it was something he had thought about for a long time. “I don’t want to retire and say I should have tried it. I feel liberated in making the decision to resign,” Kenney said.
The councilman said on Thursday he plans to thank his council colleagues for 23 years of support in his efforts for the city. “I’ve represented Philadelphia as a whole over those years and I think I have learned a lot. I know what city politics and city government is like, even though I come from South Philadelphia I been able to work in every neighborhood in the city, I think folks understand what motivates me to take the positions that I’ve taken over the years.”
Even though he couldn’t officially talk about what he is doing after he resigns, he did share some insight into his frustrations as a council member.
“When you are in council and there are certain things you want to accomplish, unless you are the mayor, is hard to get things done,” Kenney said. “A successful mayor is a good point guard, a person who can run the offense, ditch off and assist players so your team wins, that is how I would like to approach it.”
When asked by AL DÍA News how he intends reach out to the Latino voter, so they don’t feel disenfranchised from the political process, the councilman jumped right into his immigration stance.
“My position on ICE holds, immigration, and the cooperation with the federal government, holding people without a warrant in jail until the federal government decides what they want to do — I don’t think at all that is what we should be doing. We need our city to embrace immigration in a way we haven’t done so far,” Kenney said. “All this analysis I have seen over the years about immigrants, that they bleed off resources, they collect welfare, the numbers are absolutely the opposite. They employ people, they fix up neighborhoods, all they want to do is to have the same opportunity that we had, to progress and do well in this country.”
Although immigration remains a top issue for Latino voters across the nation, is not necessary the top issue of every voter. A survey published by Pew Research Center, on October of 2014, rates the importance of five different issues for Latino voters. According to the results, 92 percent of the participants said education is an extremely or very important issue, followed by jobs and the economy, which 91 percent believed to be extremely or very important issues.
Healthcare came in third place with 86 percent of Latino voters rating this issue as extremely or very important. Immigration was the fourth most important issue with 73 percent of participants saying is an extremely or very important issue.
The councilman did acknowledge the diversity within the Latino community. “It is not just a monolithic community, there is your Puerto Rican and your Mexican, and your Guatemalans...there are similarities but there are differences,” Kenney said. “‘This is Philadelphia and I value everyone who lives in every neighborhood in the city that has contributed to our general well-being,” Kenney said.