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Credit: Ilana Wurman

Penn Democrats invited Democratic mayoral candidate Jim Kenney to speak on Monday evening, the day before election.

Kenney spoke to students about his plans for the city if he is elected the next mayor of Philadelphia. Penn Education Society, Penn Association for Gender Equity, UPenn NAACP and the Mayor’s Scholar Program cosponsored the event.

College senior and President of Penn Democrats Sean Foley said it was important for Penn students to hear about Kenney’s platform and meet him. He added Kenney has focused his campaign on engaging every neighbor in the conversation.

“He is going to bring a progressive agenda to the city,” Foley said. “Make Philadelphia a better place to raise a family, to grow a business, and to get an education."

Current Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter, who took the stage before Kenney, said there is a real election on Nov. 3 and people not only need to get out and vote, but need to vote for Kenney.

“Jim Kenney has what it takes to run the city,” Nutter said.

Kenney mentioned that he had taught at Penn and is very proud to be associated with the University. For those who have been incarcerated, Kenney said they should have the support they need to re-enter society and not return to prison. Regarding immigration, the mayoral hopeful highlighted that he is of Irish descent and knows what it feels like to be discriminated against.

“When I think about my own life experience, I can have nothing but empathy for immigrants,” he said.

Kenney added that he can’t look at a Mexican or an African and say that his immigration story is better than theirs.

He also said that the way wealth is concentrated on the top 1 percent in America is insane. However, Republicans have managed to convince many low-income Americans that they understand their struggles. A student asked about how more and more public schools are being turned into charter schools. Kenney said the abundance of charter schools are a problem both to public schools and private schools.

“I am not for the expansion of any more charter schools,” he said.

He explained that the state budget is short $1 billion or more and that raising taxes to develop revenues to fund public schools must remain one of the solutions on the table.

“Get out tomorrow and vote. Hopefully you will vote for me,” Kenney concluded.

“I like him. He seems like a really down-to-Earth person," Wharton freshman Jacob Nelson said.

“I grew up in Philadelphia, and I felt like I could relate to the arguments he was making,” College freshman Rachel Rosen said.

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