Amen Brown is serving his first term as the Pennsylvania State Representative for the 190th district, which incorporates seven wards in West Philadelphia. In 2021, Brown became the third state rep to serve the district in four years after two predecessors’ illegal dealings ended their terms early. Brown declared his intention to join the race for mayor of Philadelphia in mid-December 2022. At 35, he is the youngest candidate in the race.
Brown says he grew up in West Philadelphia as one of eight kids with a single mom and incarcerated dad. He often talks about his childhood experiences with gun violence, including losing a friend to a shooting and being shot himself as a middle schooler. Also as a young person, Brown spent 19 days in jail, which he says influences his views on criminal justice. He graduated from Overbrook High School and attended Community College of Philadelphia.
Prior to serving in Harrisburg, Brown ran daycare centers, explored entrepreneurial real estate and founded a community empowerment center in Overbrook. He is currently being sued by former partners and creditors for $144,000 in unpaid debt. He has a record of thousands of dollars in unpaid taxes from his business dealings and has been implicated in deed fraud.
Although a freshman representative with little name recognition, Brown’s campaign for mayor is rumored to have deep pockets behind it. Among the most visible is New York real estate mogul Marty Burger, who has development projects in Brown’s district and announced Brown’s intention to run at PA Society in early December.
Here’s what else we know about Amen Brown
- HE MADE WAVES IN HIS OWN PARTY by supporting legislation for increased mandatory minimum sentencing requirements for people rearrested within five years of committing a felony. (Democrats typically oppose mandatory minimums.)
- HE HAS CALLED FOR INCREASED SECURITY — surveillance cameras, doors that lock — in Philly schools.
- HE SUPPORTS TRANS KIDS’ RIGHTS, and voted against a 2022 bill passed by the PA General Assembly (and vetoed by Governor Wolf) that obligated students to use restrooms and locker rooms that correspond to their assigned gender. Brown also objected to threats to patients and providers of gender-affirming care at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia.
- HE IS STILL ESTABLISHING HIS LEGISLATIVE STANCES in Harrisburg, having, for example, voted for, then against, a statewide school voucher program.
- LIKE ANTHONY HARDY WILLIAMS, HE HAS RECEIVED CAMPAIGN DONATIONS from PACS affiliated with Jeff Yass, PA’s wealthiest resident, who has given millions to support public charter schools and to fight taxes. Brown has been a strong proponent of charter schools and vouchers for low-income students. He was the only House Democrat to vote for a bill that would create a school voucher program.
- HE MADE AN EARLY GAFFE by underestimating the City’s budget by approximately $10 billion during an on-screen interview — and then asking the reporter to ask him the question again.
- HE SUPPORTS THE LEGALIZATION OF MARIJUANA in Pennsylvania.
Press coverage of Amen Brown
- WHYY reports on Brown’s support of — and progressives’ reactions to — legislation increasing the power of mandatory minimum sentencing.
- The Philadelphia Inquirer covers the start and success of Amen Brown’s then-nascent political career.
- Billy Penn details allegations of deed fraud, breach of contract resulting in lawsuits against Amen Brown.
- Brown’s campaign contributions from Jeff Yass-affiliated PACs were laid out by Spotlight PA.
Audio featuring Amen Brown
Amen Brown on the Dom Giordano show
Videos featuring Amen Brown
Post announcement interview with Fox29’s Jeff Cole (the one where Brown goofs on estimating the City’s budget)
On gun violence and criminal justice reform
On gun violence prevention
More ways to learn about Amen Brown
Visit Amen Brown’s campaign website.
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