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April 18, 2023

Philadelphia candidates for mayor in 2023: Cherelle Parker

The former city councilmember and state representative has pushed for tax relief and small business programs in the past

2023 Election Mayoral Race
cherelle parker mayoral primary @CherelleParkerPhilly/Facebook

Cherelle Parker was the youngest Black woman elected to the Pennsylvania House of Representatives in 2005. She spent a decade in office before being elected to City Council.

Cherelle Parker has positioned herself as a champion of Philadelphia's working and middle classes — or "middle neighborhoods," as she calls them — through tax reform and free business programs introduced during her six years on City Council and decade in the state House of Representatives.

Parker, a Democrat, was first elected to the state legislature in 2005. She was the youngest Black woman to win a seat, and represented the 200th District, consisting of parts of Northwest Philly, including east and west Mt. Airy, until 2015. That year she ran for City Council and won, representing Philly's 9th District (which covers Lawncrest, Olney, East Mt. Airy and West Oak Lane) until September 2022, when she resigned to run for mayor.

Before entering politics, Parker was a teacher.

In the state House, she led a package of "tax fairness" reforms, including a law establishing the real estate tax relief program LOOP, as well as a $2.3 billion transportation bill to repair roads and boost public transit.

While in office, Parker was convicted of drunk driving and lost subsequent appeals. She served three days in jail, paid a $1,000 fine and her license was suspended for one year.

After joining City Council in 2016, Parker spearheaded PHL Taking Care of Business, a city program that pays community nonprofits to clean up commercial corridors within designated neighborhoods, and Power Up Your Business, a free small business program run through the Community College of Philadelphia.

Parker also led legislation capping food delivery fees, and increasing fines for illegal dumpers. Through a resolution, she called on the Free Library to eliminate late fees — which it did, in 2019.

Shortly before resigning to run for mayor in the May 16 primary election, Parker introduced a five-point community policing plan. Her proposal called for 300 more police officers on foot and bike patrol, a faster recruitment/onboarding process and increased funding for personnel and security cameras. 

As mayor, Parker has promised to implement the policing plan she proposed on City Council, and expand PHL Taking Care of Business. She has also pledged to work with state and/or federal officials to raise the minimum wage to $17.53 an hour, tying it to inflation so it rises without additional legislation in the future.

Parker believes city schools should be open year-round, with expanded hours to include more before and after-school programming. Under her proposed 7:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. schedule, schools would offer music, language, coding, sports, college prep and home economics programs, as well as job training through partnerships with local businesses.

Parker was born and raised in Philadelphia. She attended Parkway Northwest High School, and later earned degrees from Lincoln University and the University of Pennsylvania. She lives in Mt. Airy.

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