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Poverty, Housing, Safety, Transportation: Philadelphia Mayoral Candidates Discuss Important Issues in Televised Debate

Posted on 05/15/19 by Charlene Putt

Voters voting in polling place

PHILADELPHIA, PA — Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney and two Democratic challengers,

state Senator Anthony Hardy Williams and former City Controller Alan Butkovitz, faced off in the first and only televised debate ahead of the May 21 Democratic primary election. The issues discussed on the hour-long debate included poverty, housing, safety and transportation. AARP Pennsylvania applauds the mayoral candidates for addressing these important issues.

“Time and again, we hear from members and residents across the city about the issues they are concerned about,” said Bill Johnston-Walsh, AARP Pennsylvania State Director. “Top of mind for many Philadelphians, particularly the 50-plus, are concerns about safe transportation, affordable housing, aging in place, and the use of parks and green spaces.”

The candidates’ approaches to addressing affordable housing varied, ranging from a review of the assessment process, tax abatement, rent control, and having an involved role in the planning and zoning process to look at the impact on the “indigenous” population.

In 2018, nearly 50 pedestrians and bicyclists were killed on Philadelphia streets. When asked what would be done to ensure safe transportation, candidates cited the need for better regulations and protections for bike lanes and policies that support mobility.

Prior to the debate, AARP Pennsylvania hosted five Community Conversations across the city to hear from residents about the issues they are most concerned about. Major themes emerged around safe transportation, affordable and accessible housing, and the use of parks and green spaces. AARP Pennsylvania will share findings from the Community Conversations with the mayoral candidates in advance of the general elections in November.

“50+ Americans are the nation’s most powerful voting bloc and AARP members across the city of Philadelphia will be making their voices heard during this election season,” said Johnston-Walsh. “This debate provided Philadelphians an opportunity to learn where the candidates stand on issues so they could make an informed decision when hitting the polls on May 21 st.”

Nearly 30 percent of Philadelphia’s population are 50-plus. There are over 1 million registered voters in Philadelphia County.

The May 13 debate was hosted by NBC10 and Telemundo62 in partnership with The Philadelphia Inquirer and AARP Pennsylvania. Moderated by NBC10 anchor Jim Rosenfield, the debate featured mayoral candidates former City Controller Alan Butkovitz, incumbent Mayor Jim Kenney, and state Senator Anthony H. Williams and took place at the Comcast Technology Center in front of a live audience of invited guests.

This was the only televised debate and final joint appearance for the three Democrats. Republican Billy Ciancaglini is running unopposed in his party’s primary next week. The debate is available online at NBC10.com and Telemundo62.com.

About AARP

AARP has 1.8 million members in Pennsylvania. Follow AARP Pennsylvania on Facebook at AARPPA and on Twitter @AARPPA. AARP is the nation’s largest nonprofit, nonpartisan organization dedicated to empowering people 50 and older to choose how they live as they age. With a nationwide presence and nearly 38 million members, AARP strengthens communities and advocates for what matters most to families: health security, financial stability and personal fulfillment. AARP also produces the nation's largest circulation publications: AARP The Magazine and AARP Bulletin. To learn more, visit http://www.aarp.org or follow @AARP and @AARPadvocates on social media.

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