NEWSLETTER SIGNUP

By signing up to our newsletter, you agree to our terms.

Gamechangers in Chief

Three young mayors, on stage at a Citizen event last month, made clear why innovation in city government is no longer a thing to scoff at. It’s real.

Three young mayors, on stage at a Citizen event last month, made clear why innovation in city government is no longer a thing to scoff at. It’s real.

On the night that Hillary Clinton accepted the nomination to be the Democratic candidate for president—with balloons and flashing lights and the world’s attention on her—it took three young Mayors across town to embody what real politics is (or should be) about: Thinking, innovating, and reinventing communities to make every resident successful.

At The Citizen’s DNC event at The Barnes Foundation, “Oxymoron No Longer: Innovation in City Government,” Rochester Mayor Lovely Warren; Braddock Mayor John Fetterman; and former South Orange Mayor Alex Torpey held forth on what it takes to not only win over voters, but also take on entrenched city councils, and reluctant school boards, and moribund business cultures.

Warren described opening co-operative businesses in neighborhoods to bring services and jobs; Fetterman talked about using a nonprofit to bring much-needed services to residents; and Torpey talked about community-led development that benefits both builders and residents. They talked about making a difference in the lives of real people, in towns where politics hardly seems to matter—until someone steps up to change politics as usual.

In the shadow of the DNC, in the wake of the RNC a week earlier, with the (frankly) worst of American politics on display every day this election season, these three young mayors were more than just smart and innovative. They were a sign that it is possible to fight against the fear, stagnation and stubbornness that seems so integral to politics in America.

As Mayor Warren said, when talking about creating more business and opportunity for Rochester’s poorest residents, real change means taking real risk, despite the chance of political failure.

“Don’t be afraid to fail,” she said. “We’ve gotten so concerned that if it doesn’t work out, you’ll take the political hit. But what if it does? What if it is successful? What if this is the game changer for our community?”

Watch the video of the event below.

The Philadelphia Citizen will only publish thoughtful, civil posts. We want to be a communal space. But that doesn’t mean you have a First Amendment right to be an idiot. Send us an insulting, offensive and/or wildly off-topic comment and not only will we refrain from posting it -- we will laugh at you before we hit delete.

Recent Tweets
@THEPHILACITIZEN

thephilacitizen @thephilacitizen
The Citizen
@thephilacitizen
"Yesterday on the floor of Council, Councilwoman Blondell Reynolds Brown warned against scapegoating Johnson. She’s… https://t.co/ng66WmQpAf 
The Citizen
@thephilacitizen
"As I suggested last week, Dubow and Johnson have grossly violated the city’s fiduciary responsibility to its taxpa… https://t.co/2xDup42Ue1 
The Citizen
@thephilacitizen
Affordable What? @Phila3_0's @jongeeting on the whiplash in @PHLCouncil to make housing more affordable...but also… https://t.co/youBi7Jv9L 
The Citizen
@thephilacitizen
The Citizen, in partnership with @lenfestinst for Journalism & @Penn’s Annenberg School of Communication, invites y… https://t.co/Ar2t0MXUCy 
The Citizen
@thephilacitizen
CitizenCast is on iTunes! Click the link to listen to all of your favorite episodes today! https://t.co/zwO7dTOtrD 
The Citizen
@thephilacitizen
How Not To Watch Your Money. Listen to the audio version of today's story in Citizencast. https://t.co/eg4axkFZJd 
The Citizen
@thephilacitizen
Join us on the 30th for a Solutions Open Mic Happy Hour. https://t.co/GVvhnZecvh 
The Citizen
@thephilacitizen
Tune-in to an all-new episode of City Council Cheat Sheet. We listen so you don't have to. https://t.co/IF18IA81Xa 
The Citizen
@thephilacitizen
The Case of the Missing Millions continues... a troubling reveal about the firm hired to fix this mess (for the low… https://t.co/IxK2Fqm52d 
The Citizen
@thephilacitizen
We're not a website. We're a movement. We need your help to produce journalism that focuses on civic solutions, tha… https://t.co/5j23lZye94 
The Citizen
@thephilacitizen
Listen to the audio version of Finally, A Business Leader Steps Up on CitizenCast. https://t.co/h7C6goQKV1 
The Citizen
@thephilacitizen
What are your thoughts on alternate transportation? Read today's guest commentary and then let us know how you feel. https://t.co/bZACxaUrNO 
The Citizen
@thephilacitizen
B-Corp sustainable furniture makers @mioculture are turning work into play- because to play is human.… https://t.co/CgsLf3Bvc7 

LOAD MORE

Be a Citizen Editor

Suggest a Story