General Election 2019 – Support & Vote for Kendra Brooks & Nicolas O’Rourke for City Council At-Large

We have a chance for real change in City Hall. The Republicans who, by default, always get elected to those two City Council minority party seats, are facing their first real challenge in a long time – by two local progressives, Kendra Brooks and Nicolas O’Rourke, candidates from the Working Families Party.  Philly Neighborhood Networks endorsed them, with a poll of its members in June 2019, and we are organizing volunteers for canvassing every weekend and for Election Day.  Educating the voters is a key to their success on Election Day, November 5th.

HERE’S HOW YOU CAN HELP:

1. Volunteer to Canvass – Sign up online to canvass.

2. Volunteer to be at your polling place on Election Day.

3. Vote for Kendra Brooks (Ballot # 816) and Nicolas O’Rourke (Ballot # 817) on Election Day.

Contact Philly NN organizer Tim Brown, if you have questions how best to volunteer for these two great candidates.

Why Vote for Kendra & Nic?

Kendra and Nic are community organizers, not politicians. They’ll work with Democrats to enact real progressive change and stand up to special interests and real estate executives. They’ll fight for Affordable Housing, fully-funded Public Schools, Fair Wages, and Criminal Justice Reform.

Kendra is a long-time education organizer who has been endorsed by City Council hero Helen Gym, as well as State Representatives Chris Rabb and Liz Fiedler and State Senator Art Haywood. And earlier this week, Kendra got the endorsement of Senator Elizabeth Warren. 

Nicolas is Pastor at the Living Water United Church of Christ in Oxford Circle and a community organizer for POWER. He is the child of a working-class, union household, and has established himself as one of the City’s most dynamic economic and social justice organizers.

More information on these two great candidates is in the Candidate Biographies at the end of this article.

Votes for Kendra & Nick are Votes Against the Republicans

There are 7 City Council At-Large positions, but Democrats, under our City Charter, can only run candidates for 5 of them.  The 6th & 7th positions are reserved for a minority party which has historically been the Republican party. After this year’s election, we hope that Party will be the Working Families Party, as represented by Brooks and O’Rourke.

To be clear, Brooks & O’Rourke are not running against the Democrats for the At-Large seats.  Due to the 7-1 Democratic voter registration in the city, the Democrats in the last election won their 5 seats with an average of 140,000 votes, while the Republicans averaged around 30,000 votes.  Therefore, Brooks & O’Rourke do not want to, and as a matter of statistics cannot, defeat the Democratic candidates. They can only defeat the Republicans, which is their aim.

Voting for Brooks & O’Rourke would actually be the best way to support the Democratic slate.  Electing them would make the Democrats stronger in City Council.  They are both life-long Democrats before switching to the Working Families Party for this race, and are far more aligned with Democratic platforms, issues and legislation than the Republicans.  They are community organizers who are committed to quality public education, affordable housing, criminal justice reform, and fair wages and practices. With Republicans continually voting against legislation like our recently passed Fair Work Week, Earned Sick Days, and Just Cause laws, Brooks & O’Rourke would bring additional and reliable votes for Democratic priorities which will allow City Council to continue leading the nation with measures that stand up for working and marginalized Philadelphians.

Many Democrats have endorsed these two great candidates including State Rep Chris Rabb and State Sen Art Haywood.  You have 5 votes for City Council At-Large, and the 5 Democrats are almost certain to win.  So please vote for Kendra Brooks (ballot # 716) and Nicolas O’Rourke (ballot # 717), who are all the way on the right of the ballot, and your 3 favorite Democrats. Remember: all five Democrats are going to win, even if you apportion two of your votes for Kendra Brooks and Nicolas O’Rourke.

With the help of volunteers and progressives across the city, we can elect two progressives, Kendra Brooks & Nicolas O’Rourke to City Council At-Large. 

Candidate Biographies

Kendra Brooks has a wide array of experience as a Community Organizer, Instructor, and Administrator in areas ranging from education, disability rights and accessibility to women’s rights, the environment, and economic justice.  Kendra’s life experiences as a single parent, putting herself through school, losing her long term job due to budget cuts, and almost losing her home, has given her a grounded approach to the problems facing working families in Philadelphia. As a co-founder of the Philadelphia Alliance for Justice, she was a leader in developing the People’s Platform for a Just Philadelphia which has been adopted in 2019 by dozens of progressive groups, including Philly Neighborhood Networks. On the education front, Kendra organized her community to save their neighborhood school, Steel, from becoming a charter and later became the Project Coordinator for Our City Our Schools which ran an aggressive campaign for fair funding of Philadelphia schools and to abolish the SRC. Her position as the director of a disability rights group for 15 years gives her invaluable experience in running large organizations and supervising staff.  Kendra’s unique blend of experience, skills and commitment will make her an invaluable member of a City Council and help to implement the People’s Platform in Philadelphia.

Nicolas O’Rourke works as a Community Organizer for POWER where he has brought together people across race, income, faith, gender, and neighborhood lines to fight for systemic change in our society.  Focusing on restorative justice, he has actively organized on issues such as ending mass incarceration, stop and frisk, police abuse, and the cash bail system.  Nick is also a Pastor of the Living Water United Church of Christ which supports his social justice ministry. If elected, Nick’s priorities would be to end the current 10 year Tax Abatement, increase funding for the Police Advisory Commission, and make SEPTA free for students and persons with low income.  Nick’s commitment to progressive values and his understanding of the power of organizing working people will make him an excellent City Council Person who will work to bring opportunity to all.

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Margaret Lenzi

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