Rep. Amen Brown to add name to already crowded Philly Mayor’s race
With an expected announcement this week, his intentions were made public at the annual PA Society gathering in Manhattan on Friday.
MORE IN THIS SECTION
At this year’s Pennsylvania Society weekend — the annual gathering of PA’s political and wealthy elite — West Philly Representative Amen Brown, all but announced his entrance into the 2023 Philadelphia Mayor’s race.
Brown — a Democrat who was first elected to the state House back in 2020 — is expected to officially launch his campaign this upcoming Thursday, Dec. 8.
Last Friday night, in a packed room of elites puffing on expensive cigars, his intentions were made public by one of his many wealthy supporters — New York real estate developer Marty Burger, who spoke highly about Brown to those present in the cigar club.
Brown has been known to have in recent years rattled some feathers within his own party because of support he has shown for policies such as a return to mandatory minimum sentencing for certain criminal convictions. On the other hand, he has been heavily involved in trying to stop gun violence in his district where as a kid, he experienced gun violence.
In an interview with WHYY last year, Brown spoke on the issue of gun violence as well as his bill of mandatory minimum sentencing that other Democratic colleagues called “awful.”
“Visiting prisons, talking to lifers, talking to people who were convicted of attempted murders and things of that nature… and then talking to police captains and lieutenants and different law enforcement agencies and getting the facts, the facts came back that there’s a small percentage of repeat offenders committing the same violent crimes,” Brown said.
At the cigar club, he was joined by some Democratic colleagues as well as some interesting Republican names, and a couple formerly incarcerated politicians.
Among those were two formerly imprisoned Philly politicians on corruption charges — former Democratic State Sen. Vince Fumo, and former Republican State House Speaker John Perzel.
There was also Val DiGiorgio, a former chair of the state Republican Party, and Republican George Bochetto, who earlier this year ran for U.S. Senate and will also serve as an attorney for House Republicans in a Senate trial for the impeachment of Philadelphia District Attorney Larry Krasner in the new year.
“Amen Brown will be our next mayor,” Bochetto declared later. “And I’m 1,000% behind him.”
Real estate developer Burger also spoke highly about Brown, who told the story about how he first met Brown through a project his firm was developing in his native West Philly, to which Brown was later able to secure $2 million in PA funding for said developing project.
According to three sources who were present at the event and heard Burger’s speech for Brown said that the real estate developer would launch a super PAC with as much as $5 million in the bank.
“Amen has accomplished so much for his community, but now Amen needs to expand his community,” Burger said. “I’m so proud he’s allowing me to tell you about this tonight — ladies and gentlemen, Amen Brown will be running for mayor.”
Brown also got an opportunity to get up and speak about his interesting backstory that includes being formerly imprisoned, and having a troubled childhood. Intentionally or not, Brown’s cigar club event became the topic of discussion at some of the other many PA Society events in Manhattan over the weekend.
“I stand before you today, not only as your PA state representative but as a survivor of gun violence, a formerly imprisoned person, one of seven children whose mother was heavily addicted to drugs, whose father was incarcerated when I was two years old, and a person that didn’t know where my next meal was coming from,” Brown said.
With Brown’s expected announcement this week, he would be throwing his name into an already crowded candidate pool that includes recently resigned city councilmembers, Maria Quiñones-Sánchez, Derek Green, Cherelle Parker, Allan Domb, Helen Gym, former City Controller Rebecca Rhynhart, grocer mogul Jeff Brown, and former Philadelphia Judge James ‘Jimmy’ DeLeon.