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Rebecca Rhynhart and John Street. Photo: Carlos Nogueras
Rebecca Rhynhart and former Philly mayor John Street. Photo: Carlos Nogueras / AL DÍA News

Rebecca Rhynhart endorsed by former Philly mayor John Street

Street, citing numerous concerns with the city’s budget, said Rhynhart was the “best qualified” in the mayoral candidate pool.

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Mayoral candidate Rebecca Rhynhart begins a busy week for her campaign with an endorsement from John Street, the former Philly mayor who served two terms in the early 2000s. 

Street, who joined Rhynhart at a press conference located in the city’s Northwest region to offer his endorsement, said that “of the 108 candidates I’ve seen run for mayor, she’s the most qualified of all of them” including himself and his predecessor, Ed Rendell, on the list. 

Honing in on Rhynhart’s work as City Controller, Street said she was “unique in her capacity to understand and appreciate the challenges that the next mayor is going to face.” 

Before diving into Philly’s crowded mayoral 2023 race, Rhynhart served as the city’s fiscal watchdog in many capacities, for almost a decade, and under many administrations. 

In the Michael Nutter years, Rhynhart rose through government ranks, starting as a City Treasurer, and eventually becoming Budget Director and the Chief Administrative Officer of the city’s affairs. 

And in 2018, she launched a campaign to unseat the incumbent City Controller, Alan Butkovitz. 

In doing so successfully, she became the first woman elected to the Controller’s office by a 17-point margin at the end of the race. 

Rhynhart has staunchly maintained her position is above adequate, being the candidate uniquely close to how the city manages its finances. When she announced her mayoral bid last October, she said her experience would “turn audits into action, proposals into policy, and recommendations into results that make life better for Philadelphians.”

Under the administrations she’s served, according to Rhynhart, she was able to put forth proposals based on her audits, but found herself unable to act. 

“I’ve made thoughtful recommendations, but that’s where the power of my office ended,” Rhynhart said at an event in January. 

Her lasting legacy as Controller includes a scathing, 85-page review of spending within the Philadelphia Police Department that outlined staffing issues, slow response times, and inconsistent strategies. 

Street was also not shy about city spending during the Jim Kenney administration. 

“City services appear to be inadequate, inconsistent, or in some cases non existent. There's a crisis of hope in the city,” he said. 

Responding to Street’s endorsement, Rhynhart said she would also model her mayoral leadership after some of her endorsee’s successes. 

“It truly, truly is an honor to have Mayor Street's endorsement,” Rhynhart said in her remarks. “I'm so honored to have Mayor Street's endorsement because during his time as mayor, he wasn't afraid to tackle the issues head on.” 

Spending habits

City spending came to the forefront of the announcement, as Street — similarly to Rhynhart — questioned the current administration’s ability to spend effectively. 

“Not only are the expenditures high, the services are very sketchy,” Street said, and added the fiscal purview may be beyond other candidate’s ability to navigate.

“I'm not trying to knock anybody, right. I really appreciate the fact that a lot of these candidates are good, solid candidates. I mean, they're not bad people. But many of them just don't really know much about the way the city works, its limitations and the lot,” he continued. 

As the question of spending habits remained latent, Rhynhart said the city needed “strategic spending.” 

“Something that I did as Controller for years and years was call out wasteful spending. Say that we need to do things better, we need to be more intentional with where the anti-violence money goes with how services are provided,” Rhynhart said.

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