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For Penn Law adjunct professor Ken Trujillo, the most important change that needs to come to Philadelphia is education reform.

“We need to take ownership of our schools,” Trujillo said, referring to the fact that the state government controls large aspects of the Philadelphia School District. “It’s not just a political issue, it’s about our next generations. Education is the difference maker in people’s lives.”

Improving the city’s education system is part of the reason why Trujillo decided he wants to be the next mayor of Philadelphia.

On Sept. 17 , Trujillo, a 1986 Penn Law alumnus, announced his candidacy for the city’s top position. Trujillo is the only Penn alumnus currently in the race; the other declared candidates are former District Attorney Lynne Abraham and former Executive Director of Philadelphia’s Redevelopment Authority Terry Gillen . Currently a partner at the law firm Schnader, Harrison Segal & Lewis, Trujillo previously served as City Solicitor of Philadelphia, where he represented the city in legal matters .

Trujillo said he chose to run for mayor because he wanted to move the city forward. “The people know that career politicians and bureaucrats will not change the status quo any time soon,” he said. “However, my career is about taking risks and using innovations. I am not afraid to try new things.”

In addition to improving the city’s education system, Trujillo wants to make the city safer, as many Philadelphians are still concerned about crime everyday. “Many people don’t feel safe, we need to do innovative things and use tech to enforce laws more effectively,” Trujillo said. One change he would hope to make as mayor would be to require police officers to wear video cameras that would record real-time situations, “enhanc[ing] the trust between the police and the people, and also mak[ing] it more effective to deal with crime.”

Trujillo also wants to provide more support to small businesses. He mentioned the recently passed bill that created a Philadelphia Land Bank — which would turn vacant properties into sites for qualified small businesses — as an example of legislation he would seek to pass as mayor. “I am a small businessman myself, and we need to make it easier to do business in Philadelphia, including high-tech businesses and start-ups,” Trujillo said.

Kenneth Willman, chief legal officer of Russell Investments and a floor mate of Trujillo’s when they were both at Penn Law, is delighted to see him running in the mayoral race.

Trujillo was a “connector” between students at Penn Law, drawing them together for events and activities, Willman said.

He added that life with Trujillo at Penn Law was a “work hard, play hard” lifestyle, a slogan familiar to Penn students even now. In their free time, he said, “we would go hang out in Center City, or watch ‘Monty Python and the Holy Grail’ in a lounge. Sometimes we watched a football game.”

Marc S. Berman, an attorney at Berman Law Office who was in the same Penn Law class as Trujillo, also praised his entrance into the mayoral race.

“Ken is a terrific man,” he said. “He’s got the right qualifications, and he is sophisticated enough to know the important issues. He has also been involved in Philadelphia politics long enough to know what the constituents need.”

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