By Jessica Dean
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – CBS 3 Eyewitness News spoke with Philadelphia mayoral candidate Jim Kenney.READ MORE: Temple University Students Gather To Honor Students Killed, Call For Safety Changes
Jim Kenney served as a member of Philadelphia City Council since 1992, but now he’s focused on a new job.
(Dean:) “Why do you want to run for Mayor now, why is the time specifically right for now?”
“I think the first time I was thinking about it I really didn’t believe I was old enough or mature enough. I think I’ve gotten to the point in my career where I was finished with what I was trying to do in Council and wanted to take the next step,” said Jim Kenney.
Kenney grew up in South Philadelphia, the oldest of four children born to a firefighter father and a stay-at-home mother. He’s lived in Philadelphia his whole life and his entire career has been in public service.
“You’ve seen the mistakes, you’ve seen the things that have done right and the things that have been done wrong,” he said.
Kenney sees the way forward as universal Pre-K, the end of stop and frisk and equality for all Philadelphians.
“My goal is that every family, no matter where they live in the city, no matter what their ethnic or racial background is, no matter what their economic status is, has a chance to have their children have a better life than their parents,” he said.READ MORE: After Firing Coach, Flyers Drop 9th Straight, 7-5 to Avalanche
When CBS 3 Eyewitness News asked Philadelphians what mattered most to them, they kept coming back to one issue.
“How do you realistically, considering what the current budget is, fix our public school system?” said Will Mega of Philadelphia.
“I don’t fix the schools, we fix the schools. Harrisburg has had a constitutional responsibility to fully fund education in Pennsylvania. And in some ways they haven’t, in many ways they haven’t done it when we need to continue to engage them to get a fair funding formula, but more importantly, immediately, is to get reimbursement for charter schools,” he said.
Over the years Kenney has acquired a reputation for speaking his mind, a reputation amplified by his Twitter feed. Remember that tweet at New Jersey Governor Chris Christie after the Governor celebrated a Dallas Cowboys win with team owner Jerry Jones?
“Well, in South Philadelphia fat (expletive) is not exactly that much of a slur. I mean people call you that in terms of endearment. I didn’t mean terms of endearment at the time,” he said.
Kenney says those days of tweeting his mind are probably over.
“Look, if you want to take that next step and become Mayor there’s certain ways you have to conduct yourself because it’s an important position and you’re the leader of the city,” he said.
It’s a lesson learned, one he hopes will lead him to the Mayor’s office.MORE NEWS: Joel Embiid Scores 43, 76ers Hold Off Pesky Hornets In OT
Kenney was the force behind the decriminalization of marijuana in Philadelphia and he tells Eyewitness News he supports medical marijuana which he thinks could be legalized by the state legislature soon.