Poverty, inequality top of mind as Philly City Council returns to session

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Philadelphia City Council is back in session with new members representing various interests and fresh ideas on how to run the city.

Because so many former council members stepped down last year to run for mayor, the majority of city council members have served a term or less. That means there’s a major infusion of new views on the city’s legislative body.

Councilmember Nina Ahmad summed up what she thinks will be the major issue of the first year of this term. “The overall theme is addressing poverty in our city. We can come at it many different ways,” she said.

Veteran Councilmember Jamie Gauthier said this isn’t like a high school freshman class, but admitted everyone will have to find their own way.

“Certainly, it’s an exciting new environment, and I think there are going to be fresh ideas and a lot of camaraderie,” Gauthier said.

Councilmember Nicolas O’Rourke is another first-term freshman. He’s seeking “a hyper-focus on reducing and removing the obstacles for people to have access to what they need to be able to survive and thrive. We want to remove hurdles for people to have access to their resources and also reduce any harm that’s being suffered by folks within the city.”

O’Rourke spoke about issues of homelessness throughout Philly and substance abuse prevalent in the Kensington neighborhood.

“Homelessness is an issue with our city all across this country certainly, but certainly here in the city of Philadelphia, and a sense of urgency is something that I think all of us should carry,” he said. “It remains to be seen how effective we can be … but I have high hopes that we can get some things done.”

  • January 25, 2024
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