Philadelphia teachers’ union endorses Helen Gym for mayor

Helen Gym
Mayoral candidate Helen Gym makes remarks during a news conference outside Heston Elementary School.
PROVIDED / PFT

Former Councilmember Helen Gym received a key endorsement in Philadelphia’s mayor race, earning the support of the Philadelphia Federation of Teachers.

PFT President Jerry Jordan made the official announcement during a news conference outside Heston Elementary School. The teachers union’s lengthy endorsement process gave each declared candidate an opportunity to present before PFT members at a virtual meeting. Every union member then had an opportunity to vote on an endorsement.

“In the many, many chapters of this union and our fight for justice, there is one candidate in the race for mayor of our beautiful city that has been there with us through all of it,” Jordan said during the event. “And that person is the indefatigable, inimitable, unrelenting powerhouse of boundless energy and unparalleled determination— Helen Gym.”

Jordan continued: “Together, Helen Gym and the PFT have led the charge in: fighting against school closures, dismantling a state takeover that wreaked havoc on our schools, fighting to return nurses and counselors to every building, fighting to remove toxins like lead and asbestos from our schools, ensuring access to clean water in schools, ensuring the safe opening of school buildings in the wake of COVID, and helping secure the settlement of a strong contract for all of our members — just to name a few of the things we’ve partnered up on over the years.”

Gym has long been an advocate for public schools. She joins a crowded Democratic field that already includes her former Council colleagues Maria Quinones Sanchez, Derek Green, Allan Domb and Cherelle Parker, as well as grocer Jeff Brown and former City Controller Rebecca Rhynhart. Other mayoral candidates include Amen Brown, a state representative, and retired judge James DeLeon.

“This partnership has been born out of decades of work,” Gym said. “Many years ago, especially as the state was taking over our public schools, when we went through massive school closings, when we saw the attacks against teachers and high-stakes testing, one thing became clear—that teachers and educators were going to bring this city back to its sanity and back to humanity.”

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