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Helen Gym receives more endorsements.
Helen Gym receives more endorsements. Photo: Alan Nunez/Al DÍA News

PFT, API PA endorse Helen Gym for 2023 Philadelphia Mayor

Gym’s campaign wins additional money, resources, and endorsements.

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2023 Philadelphia Mayoral Candidate Helen Gym’s Mayoral campaign funds are growing tremendously with every new endorsement and pledge of thousands of dollars coming her way. 

The former City Councilmember has received two new endorsements in the past 24 hours from PA’s statewide Asian American civil rights and advocacy organization, Asian Pacific Islander Political Alliance, and the Philadelphia Federation of Teachers, the union representing the city’s school teachers, putting their belief behind a longtime education advocate. 

API PA’s endorsement comes with more than just the support. 

One of the organization's original founding board members, Gym will get around $400,000 toward motivating residents to vote for her in over a dozen languages, API PA Executive Director Mohan Seshadri told Billy Penn.

“She’s always fought for Philadelphia,” Seshadri said. “At the end of the day, the issues affecting our communities here in Philly are the issues affecting all of Philly… And we trust Helen to fight for these things and to win these things, because she’s always done that in the past.”

Gym, who left the organization last fall, is vying to be Philadelphia’s first Asian American mayor. 

Along with API PA, Gym received an endorsement from the Philadelphia Federation of Teachers, the city’s main union representing public school teachers. A long time education advocate, and as someone who has made the issue one of her main ones in her campaign, Gym’s endorsement from Philly’s largest and powerful unions will go a long way. 

“I'm standing before you today as a public school teacher, as someone who knows what it's like to look at this city through the eyes of children and their parents,” Gym said at the announcement.

Gym, a former school teacher, was also the founder of a similar program, Parents United for Public Schools, back in 2006 when Gym was battling against the School Reform Commission, the state board that controlled education in Philadelphia for over 17 years before voting itself out of existence in 2018. 

“And with our city at a crossroads, with the urgent need to address public safety and so many other crucial issues, our members have unequivocally said Helen Gym is the person they choose to lead our city in the work ahead,” said President Jerry T. Jordan, Jan. 23, at a press conference at Heston Elementary. 

Members of the Federation of Teachers overwhelmingly voted for Gym, who gained more than four times the vote as the endorsed candidate. 

“Trust is built over time. It’s built in the experiences we share, the values that unite us, and the work we do together. Our members have seen Helen at the forefront of our collective work day in and day out. And there’s just no replacing that,” Jordan added. 

In a candidate pool consisting of former City Council members Allan Domb, Derek Green, Maria Quiñones-Sánchez, Cherelle Parker, former City Controller Rebecca Rhynhart, James DeLeon, Warren Bloom, Rep. Amen Brown, Grocer mogul Jeff Brown, and new candidate, former Lt. Gov. Matt Stack, the new endorsements put her ahead of the pack for the time being. 

Other than Gym, the sole major union to have endorsed a candidate so far is District Council 33 of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, that represent over 9,500 municipal employees. The union endorsed grocer mogul Jeff Brown, a first-time candidate, in a vote earlier this month. 

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