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
Watch out, establishment—something is in the air. Now let’s make sure our new faces also think anew https://t.co/yIwN9ul6XC 
The Citizen
@thephilacitizen
WURD's @Cdellison takes on Tuesday's voter turnout, which, while a bit better, is hardly anything to celebrate: https://t.co/aakojzyImf 
The Citizen
@thephilacitizen
North Philly mom of seven wins The Citizen's $5,000 Voter Lottery. Watch the giveaway: https://t.co/ftiIihhsAu 🙌🏾 
The Citizen
@thephilacitizen
J.P. Romney on how Philly's bizarro ward system affects the way we vote: https://t.co/AOX4bULRhA #yourcitydefined 
The Citizen
@thephilacitizen
Larry Platt on the archaic system we use to elect judges: https://t.co/FShpXjewIp 
The Citizen
@thephilacitizen
Stop all the back-patting. We just let 11 percent of the city’s population tell us what to do and how to live: https://t.co/aakojzyImf 
The Citizen
@thephilacitizen
We’re Hiring! Join our team as a Special Events Coordinator. #JobsPHL https://t.co/qi2XBvUtNA 
The Citizen
@thephilacitizen
Using a Shark Tank format, Penn students pitch their social innovation projects that they think could improve PHL: https://t.co/6FmjpsPgxT 
The Citizen
@thephilacitizen
Really? Turnout was good? We just let 11 percent of the city’s population tell us what to do and how to live 🤔… https://t.co/7cf36HVKWk 
The Citizen
@thephilacitizen
HEADS UP: @BeautifulPHL is awarding 5 $1K minigrants to local orgs committed to combating cigarette litter. Details: https://t.co/ZDTjtvJdOz 
The Citizen
@thephilacitizen
RT @Commish_Schmidt:Here's an updated look at voter turnout in recent District Attorney/City Controller Primary Elections in Philadelph… https://t.co/5RzU6yJQit 
The Citizen
@thephilacitizen
.@mompopsphilly signs massive national deal, delivering even more popsicles to kids with dietary issues:… https://t.co/SBLVMXbVsa 

LOAD MORE

Be a Citizen Editor

Suggest a Story