Susan Phillips, WHYY, November 7, 2023
Her defeat of Republican opponent former City Councilman David Oh Tuesday was hardly a surprise, with Democrats outnumbering Republicans in Philadelphia 7-to-1. Parker succeeds fellow Democrat and outgoing Mayor Jim Kenney, who is term-limited.
Parker told supporters at her victory party at the Sheet Metal Workers hall on South Columbus Boulevard that her message resonated with a diverse group of voters.
In May, the 51-year-old native of Northwest Philadelphia beat her party rivals in a crowded primary with a tough-on-crime agenda and the support of labor and the city’s Democratic establishment.
Parker has said she’s “lived at the intersection of race and gender” her whole life.
Parker will inherit a city where gun violence has killed more than 360 people this year, and wounded an additional 1,161 as of Nov. 5.
She promised to hire 300 new police officers, aggressively target low-level crimes, and bring the National Guard to Kensington as part of a “comprehensive approach” to the opioid crisis.
“We have to have a sense of order in our city,” she said. “While we do that let’s understand this, zero tolerance for any misuse of authority by our law enforcement authorities.”
Parker said she will use all legal options available to control crime, including low-level offenses. She embraces stop and frisk, which she calls “Terry stops,” a reference to the 1968 U.S. Supreme court case that allows police officers to stop and pat down a person if the officer has a “reasonable suspicion” they are about to commit a crime. The practice is controversial because evidence shows it’s been used to racially profile Black men.