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I met Brooks at her new office during her first week at City Hall. The Working Families Party member was asking staff to fix a light bulb in the hallway. It mattered because Brooks plans to make it a habit of arriving early and staying late at her office, when most other lights are out.
We spent nearly an hour talking about what needs to be changed about Philadelphia, what has changed about Philadelphia and her background as a mother, a life-long Philadelphia resident and working woman.
Kendra Brooks says there wasn't some secret formula to her historic win for a Philadelphia City Council at-large seat. It was just hard work. Listen to my interview in the True Philadelphia Podcast: https://t.co/CIXNjdWiCZ@kendraforphilly @WorkingFamilies pic.twitter.com/LIHYnfDIVi— Matt O'Donnell (@matt_odonnell) February 3, 2020
In this podcast: The history behind Brooks' new office (1:46).
How she was able to win her election against all odds (2:15).
If she ever believed she would actually win (2:42).
How she managed to earn more votes than the GOP candidate for mayor (3:30).
What the Working Families Party stands for (4:20).
If WFP might have had its beginnings with the Occupy Wall Street movement (5:20).
How she still lives in Nicetown, the neighborhood she grew up in (6:05).
Juggling single motherhood with a professional and political career (6:35).
What songs she likes to sing on Karaoke night (7:24).
How she makes tough choices in balancing her family and career (9:00).
When she decided to enter politics and how Facebook played a part (10:30).
How to reverse the city's ongoing problem with violence, especially against children (11:24).
Why she is shocked to ride the subway these days (14:00).
How to convince people to invest in struggling communities for the long term (15:07).
Why she thinks Philadelphia can still be choosy when trying to attract new businesses, and courting Amazon (17:20).
If the city should have used public funds to help build new sports stadiums (19:00).
Why ending tax abatements is number one on her priorities list (20:30).
If it is healthy for a city to be controlled by only one political party (23:20).
What she thought when party chairman Bob Brady threatened people to not support her candidacy (24:40).
If WFP can win broader appeal (26:04).
Why she favors rent control even though it has seen negative effects in New York City (27:45).
If public schools are better off without the School Reform Commission (30:18).
Why she wants a moratorium on charter schools (33:50).
How to avoid having to raise real estate taxes to fully fund public schools (35:05).
If she has 'super' wealthy friends and if it is okay to amass millions upon millions of dollars (35:25).
Why she believes the capital gains tax gives the wealthy an advantage (36:45).
Why she believes wealth should be redistributed (37:10).
If everyone should make the same amount of money (37:48).
The idea of a living wage (38:45).
Her days as a nursing assistant and working long hours (39:20).
Raising the minimum wage (40:15).
What Philadelphia is currently doing right (41:30).
Her experience at the Pennsylvania Society gathering in New York City (42:34).
If she believes we are getting better at respecting other people's differences (46:07).
How social media and young people have impacted acceptance (47:20).
How Generation X paved the way to more acceptance (48:10).
The best things about living in Philadelphia (49:10).
Her favorite places to visit in the city and the food (50:44).
If the cheesesteak gets too much hype (.51:40)
Recorded at Philadelphia City Hall on January 9, 2020.