- 26 percent of our population living in poverty, the highest rate of the 10 largest cities in America
- just 2 percent of independent businesses (with at least one employee) owned by African Americans, the lowest rate of Black-owned businesses of any of our peer cities
- the poorest post-industrial job creation rate
- the highest tax rate
- a school system accused of failing students
This was the backdrop for The Citizen’s Ultimate Job Interview Round 2: Jobs, Jobs, Jobs event Monday night, in front of an overflowing crowd at Fitler Club. Five candidates took to the stage one after the other to answer questions about and defend their plan to grow jobs and help Philadelphians build a pathway to the middle class: Maria Quiñones Sánchez, Rebecca Rhynhart, Jeff Brown, Allan Domb and Helen Gym.
In addition to Gardner, the night’s emcee, the candidates took questions from Bill Hankowsky, former president/CEO of Liberty Property Trust and former president of the Philadelphia Industrial Development Corporation; and Della Clark, president/CEO of The Enterprise Center.
Monday’s event was unlike other candidate forums in its unusual format. First, each candidate had about 20 minutes on stage themselves with the three civic leaders. Then, they came on together and each asked one of their competitors a question: Three went to Brown; one to Gym; and one to Quiñones Sánchez. Gardner then asked them questions from the audience.
Watch the event below:
This was Round 2 in the series that began with The Citizen soliciting feedback from residents to create an official job description for the role of Mayor, to which all candidates are being held. (You can read the full, publicly-created job description here.)
Among the needs residents want to see addressed are several related to economic growth and prosperity:
- A determined, well-resourced and sustained plan to close the inequality gap in employment, education, income and wealth, housing and health care
- A strategy and effective tactics to grow Philadelphia’s economy in a manner that enables shared participation and prosperity
- Implementation of a tax and regulatory environment that is fair to citizens and businesses, meets the reasonable financing needs of City government, and promotes growth and opportunity for city residents
The series will continue with annual performance reviews for the winner of the mayor’s race, the 100th Mayor of Philadelphia. All of the candidates have agreed to participate if elected. You can watch all of the candidate interviews here.
View more photos from The Ultimate Job Interview: Jobs, Jobs, Jobs:
The Ultimate Job Interview is a part of Every Voice, Every Vote, a collaborative project managed by The Lenfest Institute for Journalism. Lead support is provided by the William Penn Foundation with additional funding from The Lenfest Institute, the Wyncote Foundation, and the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, among others. To learn more about the project and view a full list of supporters, visit www.everyvoice-everyvote.org. Editorial content is created independently of the project’s donors.
This project is also made possible by the support of Diversified Search Group.Left to right: Allan Domb, Jeff Brown, Maria Quiõnes Sánchez, Rebeeca Rhynhart, Helen Gym, Jim Gardner, Della Clark, Bill Hankowsky at the Ultimate Job Interview, Part 2 on March 27, 2023