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Councilwoman for District 3 Jamie Gauthier
At the podium, District 3 Councilmember Jamie Gauthier stresses abortion protections in Philly. On the right, Kendra Brooks, next to speak. Photo: Carlos Nogueras / AL DÍA News

Jamie Gauthier announces re-election bid for City Council

Gauthier delivered remarks to a crowd of over 200 at the Christy Recreational Center in West Philadelphia.

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With no signs of slowing down, election season in Philly is in full gear as District 3 Councilwoman Jamie Gauthier announced a re-election campaign on Saturday, Jan. 21, in West Philly. 

Gauthier, a Democrat, addressed a crowd of over 200 supporters, elected officials, and ward leaders who chanted, “four more years!” as she delivered emotional remarks in Cobbs Creek, where a 16-year-old was violently shot and killed in the Spring of 2021. 

“Speaking of public spaces, I want to highlight the one we’re in right now,” Gauthier said. 

“I very intentionally held my launch here. Because to me, there’s no better example of how going through something traumatic, as painful as it can be, can inspire us to come together and make change.”

At the guidance of an advisory board that included State Representative Rick Krajewski and House Minority Joanna McClinton, Gauthier led a multimillion-dollar renovation in March 2022 for the rec center, scheduled to roll out in phases. 

Backed by her peers

Present at the event were Leader McClinton and Rep. Krajewski, both of whom introduced Gauthier before she gave her speech. 

"“I am thrilled,” said Leader McClinton, a West Philly native representing neighboring districts, “thrilled to support my sister and my friend.” 

“When we look at all of the developments going on in our community, we know the challenges. The list of challenges is enormous,” added McClinton, who lauded some of Gauthier’s achievements in city council, notably the #JustServicesPHL campaign, which routed millions toward quality-of-life investments in her district. 

Announcing her candidacy, Gauthier was also surrounded by a multitude of elected officials — including Senator Vincent Hughes (SD-7), Sen. Nikil Saval (SD-1), State Rep. Morgan Cephas, Councilmembers Curtis Jones, Isaiah Thomas, Kenyatta Johnson, Cindy Bass, District Attorney Larry Krasner, City Commissioner Lisa Deeley, and mayoral candidate Helen Gym.

The background

Gauthier, elected in 2019, assumed office in 2020 along with a new class of progressives whose presence in city chambers has flouted business as usual. 

The symbolic team effort consists of Gauthier, Councilmember Kendra Brooks, the first Working Families Party candidate elected to office in Philadelphia, and Helen Gym, the resigned councilmember pursuing the mayor’s office after serving two terms.

In 2022, Gauthier, Brooks, and Gym spearheaded the Emergency Housing Protection Act, providing rent relief to tenants during the pandemic, and the Eviction Diversion Program, which mediated tenant-landlord relations to avoid evictions through confrontations in court. 

Due to its success, the program was held up as a model for cities in the U.S. by the federal government, and is considered a key victory for progressives vying for seats across local government. 

"I have a vision for West and Southwest Philly — and our city as a whole — as a place with thriving communities for all. Because that’s what we deserve. And with your support, I’ll continue to fight for that vision," Gauthier continued in her speech. 

Gauthier — along with Brooks and Gym — enacted a multi-legislative package in September to further guard the right to abortion in Philly, in addition to abortion seekers in and out of state, through a series of protections that cover data and privacy, workplace, and legal protections. 

After two successful deliberations in City Council, the bill went to Mayor Jim Kenney’s Desk in mid-December

It wasn’t all smooth sailing

In the Summer of 2022, tensions flared over the sale of the University City Townhomes, a landmark and one of the last remnants of West Philly’s Black Bottom neighborhood, which endangered the livelihood of hundreds of Black and Latino low-income tenants who are otherwise unable to afford rent. 

Standing center of the controversy, Gauthier battled UC Townhomes owners, the Altman brothers, after she passed measures with new zoning requirements that called, among other things, for demolition moratoriums for multiple properties, including UC Townhomes. 

The legislation, sponsored by Gauthier, also sought to preserve a minimum of 20% of affordable units through an Overlay District legislation in partnership with now-mayoral candidate Maria Quiñones Sánchez.

Plaintiffs called Gauthier’s move an “ever-changing list of demands,” while advocates supporting the UC Townhomes coalition — which included a months-long encampment site —- said she was notably absent from the movement. 

In September, Gauthier spoke at a rally calling for affordable housing in Philadelphia, and although the event was separate from UC Townhomes, some concerns were echoed across speakers. 

Gauthier is up for reelection on the primary ballot in May before the November general election. 

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