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April 21, 2023

Philadelphia candidates for mayor in 2023: Amen Brown

The two-term state representative has bucked traditional Democratic party policies by advocating for mandatory minimum prison sentences for some offenders

2023 Election Mayoral Race
amen brown mayor primary @AmenForPhilly/Facebook

Amen Brown, a Democrat from West Philly, is serving his second term in the Pennsylvania House of Representatives.

The youngest candidate in the crowded field for the May 16 primary election, Amen Brown is still serving his second term as a Pennsylvania state representative while he runs for mayor of Philadelphia.

Brown, a 35-year-old Democrat, was first elected to the state House of Representatives in 2020 after losing an bid for office the previous year. He represented the 190th District, and later the redistricted 10th, in West Philly that includes the neighborhoods of  Powelton Village, Mantua, Belmont and Mill Creek.

Prior to entering politics, Brown was an entrepreneur who ran daycare centers and the Overbrook Beacon Community Center.

In Harrisburg, Brown has taken an aggressive approach to Philly's gun violence crisis, breaking with many of his Democratic colleagues with his tough-on-crime stances, like calling for new mandatory minimums for people with prior records who are convicted of gun possession. That bill failed but not before the ACLU called it "may be the worst criminal justice bill we've ever seen."

Last year he also called on then-Gov. Tom Wolf to send the National Guard to Philadelphia to crack down on violence, and introduced a package of bills in February to equip police officers with high-quality body armor and other protections.

During his first year in office, Brown helped broker a deal with the largest gun-show promoter in Pennsylvania to ban the sale of ghost guns at its shows. He also helped extend a suspension of medical copays for prison inmates during the COVID-19 pandemic, and has put forth legislation to end it permanently

In his reelection campaign for the state House and his current mayoral bid, Brown has faced ballot challenges for failing to disclose debts and other financial details. The city of Philadelphia sued him and his business partner for over $30,000 in unpaid taxes in 2021.

On his campaign website, Brown has proposed a three-year abatement of the Business Privilege Tax for small businesses, and public-private partnerships to fund more affordable housing. He also wants to build a dirt bike and ATV park on vacant land in an attempt to get the vehicles off the city's streets. 

Last year, Brown expressed support for the Sixers arena proposal.

Brown was born and raised in West Philly, and graduated from Overbrook High School. He also attended the Community College of Philadelphia. 

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