Philadelphia Welcomes Mayor Kenney Into Office


James Kenney was sworn in as the city’s 99th mayor and Congregation Rodeph Shalom Rabbi Jill Maderer gave the final invocation at the ceremony.

Lifelong South Philadelphia resident James Kenney became the city’s 99th mayor on Jan. 4, as newly elected State Supreme Court Justice Kevin Dougherty swore him into office at the Academy of Music. Kenney succeeds Mayor Michael Nutter, who served two terms.

“I can’t tell you how humbling and what an honor it is to be standing in this wonderful room with all these people that I have known my whole life and worked with and to be sworn in by my children,” Kenney said.

The 57-year-old Kenney was elected six times as a Democrat to an at-large seat on City Council. He began his political career in 1992 and has been a staunch supporter for the environment, equality and workers’ rights. He also helped establish Philadelphia’s 311 system.

The mayor told the audience it will take time to get used to not being a councilman. He thanked his family and fellow elected officials and stressed his parents taught him it’s always better to give than receive.

“A government functions properly when it’s accessible and accountable to the people it serves,” he said.

Reducing poverty, improving transportation and education, and affordable pre-kindergarten are among his goals.

“Providing efficient and effective services means educating all our children where they live,” Kenney said. “Our children should not have to get up before dawn and take three buses to get to a good school. We need to give our police the tools to establish relationships with the community they are sworn to protect and serve,” he added. “Parents working two or three jobs should not live in poverty. The government simply cannot do it alone. People must pitch in and work together.”

Congregation Rodeph Shalom Rabbi Jill Maderer, who gave the final invocation at the ceremony, spoke to the attendees about the new mayor and council.

“We Jewish, Christian, Muslim, Hindu, Buddhist, Philadelphians of diverse neighborhoods, races, sexual orientation and languages: Today, we do not take for granted this peaceful transfer of power we call democracy,” the rabbi said.

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