(Photo by Flickr user Michael Nutter for Mayor, used under a Creative Commons license)
Between Mayor Nutter’s StartUp PHL initiative and the strides his administration has made in the open data arena, it’s clear that our current mayor has done much to champion tech in his two terms in office.
But what about Philly’s 2015 mayoral candidates? Where do they stand on these issues and more?
As part of our coverage leading up to the 2015 election, we’ll pose these questions to the candidates themselves.
But for now we’ve set out to find what each candidate has said publicly about tech — gauging, along the way, their relative comfort with the digital realm.
Here’s what we found.
LYNNE ABRAHAM (5 tweets and counting)
- Abraham did not have a website or Twitter account until after announcing her campaign.
- She also recently told Philly Mag, “I don’t send emails.”
- To boot, she defended her love of Philly taxis by warning, “I’m not going to get into an Uber thing, so don’t go there.”
- Still, Abraham’s campaign was endorsed by the Small Business Association of Delaware Valley, comprised of over 5,000 small business owners in the Philadelphia region.
Online find: Lynne does not like the Flyers.
ANTHONY HARDY WILLIAMS (4,570 tweets and counting)
- Much like Abraham, Williams did not have a campaign website until after announcing his campaign.
- In his announcement speech, the State Senator briefly mentioned the need to boost the number of entrepreneurs in Philadelphia. He’s got cred — last year, he hosted a free event to familiarize small businesses with mobile apps. (Here’s what he had to say about his iPhone at the time: “Everything is chiming and pinging.”)
- Mobile apps in mind, it’s important to mention that Williams is no stranger to hackathons. This past October, he hosted the first Anti-Bullying Mobile App Challenge at Lansdowne’s Penn Wood High School in partnership with STEMnasium and Comcast.
- Williams has cosponsored legislation to increase STEM programs in Philadelphia.
Online find: Hangin’ with Nick Cannon.
Update: 12/11/14, 10:41 a.m.:
— Jane Roh (@Jane_Roh) December 10, 2014
- Gillen supports transparent government. During her time at the Philadelphia Redevelopment Authority, Gillen created a new website and brought in mapping experts, she told PlanPhilly in 2009. She also spearheaded an effort to create an online database of RDA properties.
- Perhaps one of her greatest accomplishments, Gillen played a key role in revitalizing the Navy Yard. As a member of the Rendell administration, she helped lay the groundwork for what’s now an increasingly bustling science, design and tech hub. The Navy Yard is currently home to over 10,000 jobs.
- In an email response to a request from local blog The Declaration for her plans for boosting transparency, Gillen writes, “Right-To-Know reform is a serious issue, one that our policy team has under consideration.”
- This Philadelphia Business Journal story asks if having a woman in a political leadership role translates into more women in tech jobs, to which Gillen tweeted, “Does having a female mayor get more women into the tech sector? Hmmm.”
Online find: Get it straight, Jimmy Fallon.
— Terry Gillen (@Terry_Gillen) October 25, 2013
KEN TRUJILLO (190 tweets and counting) (Update: Ken Trujillo withdrew from the race Jan. 21.)
- Trujillo, who was the board chair of Latino anti-poverty organization Congreso for 24 years, said in 2011, “My peers [at Congreso] and I have to play some catch-up on the technology side.”
- Meanwhile, Trujillo’s campaign site touts him as an “Entrepreneur, Innovator.” To be fair, it also reads, “Ken will position Philadelphia as the small business capital of America, encouraging both mom & pops and startups.”
- Additionally, during his candidacy declaration, Trujillo, as quoted by the Daily Pennsylvanian, said, “We need to make it easier to do business in Philadelphia, including high-tech businesses and start-ups.”
- Trujillo is a proponent of smart policing. He told politics blog PoliticsPA, “we need to use technology [in policing] because all Philadelphians deserve to be safe in their neighborhoods.”
- His email response to the same Declaration request that was sent to Gillen: “[Ken] is committed to using technology and other tools to give Philadelphians the open government they deserve. As the campaign progresses, we intend to propose more specific improvements.”
Online find: #TBT time!
- Councilman Kenney is on the Committee on Technology and Information Services. During his last run for at-large council seat, the councilman vowed to “continue to advocate for further improvements in technology that improves work flow and helps realize increased efficiencies, greater accountability from departments, fiscally prudent decisions, and quality constituent services.”
- Still, as of 2011, releasing city data was “maybe a five” on a scale of 10 in Kenney’s priorities.
- Kenney introduced Jump Start Philly, one of two tax reform bills exempting new startups from paying the Business Income and Receipts Tax during their first two years in business.
- On the other hand, Kenney was critical of Nutter’s trips to Britain and Israel to rally for the expansion of foreign businesses into Philadelphia. The councilman argued that partnerships with low-skill industries in Lancaster and the Lehigh Valley would better suit the city’s workforce than high-tech jobs with foreign firms would.
- Kenney (probably) wants to legalize ridesharing.
Online find: Haver of night moves.
Ever made out in a car when younger, to "Running Against the Wind"?
— CouncilmanJimKenney (@JimFKenney) June 15, 2013
- While Abraham and Williams didn’t have campaign sites until after launching their campaigns, Council President Clarke launched Clarke2015.com in August of 2013. Also, for what it’s worth, City Council didn’t have WiFi until Clarke became Council prez.
- Just recently, Clarke introduced the Philadelphia Community Sustainability Initiative, which uses data to create an interactive map allowing city planners to identify neighborhoods in need.
- Additionally, Clarke sponsors the Restart Philadelphia conference, which provides access to “valuable job readiness and business development for job seekers and aspiring entrepreneurs.”
- Still, Clarke’s idea of an “entrepreneur” might be more to the tune of people who set up sidewalk flea markets.
- Along with Council members Kenney and Mark Squilla, Clarke sponsored the resolution to officially make N. 3rd Street (between Market & Girard) N3rd Street, considering the 70+ tech startups located on that stretch.
- Like Trujillo, Clarke is also a proponent of “smart” policing. On June 23, 2014, Clarke tweeted, “#PHL needs more crime-fighting tech to discourage these cowardly attacks on women.”
Online find: Dance moves for days.
Update: 12/11/14, 10:43 a.m.:
— Jane Roh (@Jane_Roh) December 10, 2014
FRANK RIZZO, JR. (0 tweets and counting) (Update: Rizzo is instead running for a seat on City Council.)
- We got nothin’. (Except this.)
Online find: Then-timely political jokes.
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