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Philadelphia mayoral candidate Helen Gym speaking at a rally for RA unionization on Mar. 31. Credit: Abhiram Juvvadi

Philadelphia City Councilmember Jamie Gauthier endorsed Philadelphia mayoral candidate and 1993 College graduate Helen Gym at an event on April 17. 

At the event, which took place in the Mantua neighborhood of West Philadelphia, Gym launched her community safety plan, addressing gun violence and school safety. Other members of the community, with backgrounds ranging from social worker to emergency room physician, spoke in support of the plan.  

Gauthier, who graduated from Penn in 2004 with a master’s in City Planning from the School of Design, represents Philadelphia’s Third District, which includes Penn and much of West Philadelphia. She previously worked with Gym, a former City Councilmember and 1996 graduate of the Graduate School of Education, on issues such as COVID-19 related economic relief and reproductive health care.

“Over the last 20 years of her career, she is the only candidate with a plan to invest in young adults in their futures, whether we're talking about investing in school buildings, or providing guaranteed employment to young people,” Gauthier said in an interview with The Daily Pennsylvanian. 

Gym reiterated her previous commitment to declaring gun violence as a public health emergency, while also referencing the ongoing debates surrounding stop-and-frisk policies that arose in recent mayoral forums. 

“They're weaponizing fear in this moment,” Gym said at the event. “We are not going to find holistic answers in simplistic assumptions that some binder that we adopt from another city is going to solve our problems.” 

Perelman School of Medicine professor and emergency room physician Benjamin Abella expressed his support for Gym’s community safety plan at the event. 

“The proposals she puts forth are concrete, specific, action oriented, and avoid a lot of the platitudes that unfortunately we hear from political leaders in our city and throughout the country,” Abella said. 

Other community members and leaders spoke at the event of their personal experiences with police and gun violence within their communities. 

“I have lost people to gun violence, I have lost people to this carceral system, and the cycles that continue to perpetuate, none of them are serving us as a community,” Mantua resident Rikeyah Lindsey said. 

Gauthier’s endorsement of Gym comes after the settlement of a lawsuit filed by IBID Associates Limited Partnership — the developers of the University City Townhomes property — against Gauthier and the City of Philadelphia. Under the settlement agreement, Penn will fund support services for the tenants of the UC Townhomes.