The Daily Pennsylvanian is a student-run nonprofit.

Please support us by disabling your ad blocker on our site.

At-large city councilmember and majority leader Katherine Gilmore Richardson speaks at Mayor Cherelle Parker's election party on Nov. 7, 2023. Credit: Chenyao Liu

Penn Democrats hosted City Councilmember At-Large Katherine Gilmore Richardson at an event on Wednesday night. 

In front of an audience of around 20 attendees in Huntsman Hall, Gilmore Richardson — who is the majority leader of the Philadelphia City Council — discussed her political origins and her current platforms. She highlighted her work establishing community resource centers for young people as well as funding lead-filtration systems in Philadelphia schools. 

Gilmore Richardson also spoke to The Daily Pennsylvanian about the importance of the upcoming 2024 election, both on a national and a statewide level. Pennsylvania is a key swing state in the presidential rematch between President Joe Biden, a former Benjamin Franklin Professor of Presidential Practice, and 1968 Wharton graduate and former President Donald Trump. Sen. Bob Casey (D-Pa.) is also running for re-election. 

“We all recognize that this is one of the most consequential elections of our lifetime, and it'll be really important, particularly from the perspective in Pennsylvania, that we're supporting our entire ticket from Biden to Casey [and every] position in between,” Gilmore Richardson said to the DP. “What we found in 2020 was that Pennsylvania was pivotal to the outcome of the overall election in this country, and I think we're going to play an important role again.”

Gilmore Richardson is the youngest woman in Philadelphia to be elected to citywide office and the youngest Black woman ever elected to City Council. Additionally, she became the youngest person ever to hold the position of Philadelphia City Council majority leader when she started her term in January. 

Gilmore Richardson explained that her political career began at the age of 15 when she was introduced to former Councilmember Blondell Reynolds Brown at their mutual alma mater — the Philadelphia High School for Girls — when Reynolds Brown returned to the school to speak.

“I've enjoyed a remarkable, unprecedented career in and around the city council for 25 years,” Gilmore Richardson said. 

During the event, Gilmore Richardson was asked about her stance regarding the plan to relocate the Philadelphia 76ers arena near Chinatown, a proposal that has drawn criticism and resulted in protests at Penn

Gilmore Richardson said that she has yet to make a decision on her stance but noted that she recently met with representatives of 76 Place. However, she also said she had met with Chinatown residents first because “they will be most impacted by this.”

“Anyone who lives there, who works there, who owns a business there — that's who I want to talk to,” Gilmore Richardson said.

On the national stage, Gilmore Richardson emphasized to the DP that it was important to "galvanize" young voters and address issues that were important to them. She cited the example of student loan forgiveness, an initiative she said she benefitted from as a result of the work of the Biden-Harris administration. 

“We need young people to have a seat at the table, not only as a part of this election process but [also] ongoing in the federal government,” Richardson said. “The best way to do that is to show up at the polls and make our voices heard.”