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Philadelphia mayoral candidate Helen Gym speaks at a rally for abortion rights on Jun. 24, 2022. Credit: Jesse Zhang

The progressive Working Families Party announced their support for former City Councilmember Helen Gym in her campaign for Philadelphia mayor.

The coalition formally endorsed Gym, a 1993 graduate of the College of Arts and Sciences and a 1996 graduate of Penn’s Graduate School of Education, at a press conference outside City Hall on Monday, signaling that it will mobilize members and volunteers to support her in the mayoral race. 

The Working Families Party is a grassroots political party that organizes to elect progressive candidates in fourteen states. The WFP has backed several Democrats in races for City Council and state officials, including District Attorney Larry Krasner and Senator John Fetterman

“Helen combines visionary leadership with a focus on results and delivering for the people,” Nicolas O’Rourke, former Pennsylvania WFP organizing director and current candidate for City Council, said at the press conference. “As Mayor, she will work hard to make sure everyone in this city feels safe and is safe, by focusing on getting illegal guns off the street and addressing the root causes of violence.”

Gym, who helped introduce legislation related to education, affordable housing, and abortion rights as a City Councilmember, announced her campaign last November. In a December interview with The Daily Pennsylvanian, she discussed her campaign priorities, including addressing gun violence, criminal justice reform, and education issues in Philadelphia. 

“I’m honored to earn the endorsement of the Working Families Party, which has led a nationwide effort for a fair economy, a safer, more just nation, and a government that works for the people, not special interests,” Gym said at the press conference. 

Last week, Gym received the endorsement of the Philadelphia Federation of Teachers. The Asian Pacific Islander Political Alliance also recently announced its support for Gym’s campaign, committing around $400,000 to increase votes through calls, door knocking, and mailers. 

In 2019, Councilmember Kendra Brooks became the first WFP candidate to win a Philadelphia City Council race, claiming a seat historically held by Republicans. At the press conference on Monday, Brooks recalled how Gym helped introduce legislation that protected renters, hourly workers, and the city’s youth during her tenure as council member.

“Helen gets things done for working families,” Brooks said at the press conference. “She will do the same as Mayor, and we’re excited to support her.” 

Gym served as the first Asian American woman on Philadelphia’s City Council from 2016 to 2022. If elected this upcoming November, Gym would become Philadelphia’s first female mayor.