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Philadelphia mayoral candidate Helen Gym speaking at a reproductive rights rally on June 24, 2022. Credit: Jesse Zhang

Former Councilmember and 1993 College graduate Helen Gym announced her campaign for Philadelphia mayor.

Gym, who has served on the City Council since 2016, made the announcement on Nov. 30 at the William Way LGBT Community Center after stepping down Tuesday from her former position. If elected, Gym, who was also the first Asian American woman to serve on the City Council, would be the first female mayor of Philadelphia. 

“With your help, it's time to elect a real fighter to protect the city we call home,” Gym told the room of roughly 350 supporters present during the time of her announcement.

Gym is running of platform of addressing rising rates of gun violence across the city if elected, and promised that she would declare a state of emergency on her first day in office, according to the Philadelphia Inquirer. The Democratic and Republican primaries are set to be held this May. 

“I will not use this crisis to roll back the clock on civil rights,” Gym said during her announcement. “While many people in this race will talk about public safety, let me be clear: Decades of systemic racism and disinvestment brought us to this place.”

The longtime activist was known during her tenure as a councilmember for her progressive approach to resolving the city's issues in education and affordable housing, Billy Penn reported. She recently introduced legislation for the installation of modern water filtration systems in schools, which led to the unanimous passage of a bill which set a 2025 deadline for the district to remove lead from its drinking water. 

“Every child needs access to safe and ample drinking water in their schools — the health of our students is critical to their success, and the success of our entire city,” Gym previously told The Daily Pennsylvanian. 

Gym helped introduce legislation aiming to protect abortion privacy and access earlier this year, and introduced “right-to-counsel” legislation in 2019, which provides legal representation to low-income tenants facing eviction.

Gym will face a number of other Democratic candidates including Allan Domb, Derek Green, Cherelle Parker, Rebecca Rhynhart, Maria Quiñones-Sánchez, Jeff Brown, and James DeLeon.

No Republicans have announced their candidacy thus far, but the Inquirer earlier reported that Councilmember David Oh is considering running on the Republican ballot.