“The members of Local 22 are looking forward to working together with Kenney after he becomes mayor on public safety issues,” says Local 22 President Joe Schulle. “Over the past two decades, he has stood with us on every issue that came before the City Council. There was never a question on who we were going to support.”
Kenney, son of a former Philadelphia fire fighter, is promising to continue to be there for fire fighters on public safety, including working to stop brownouts and discontinuing the practice of forcing fire fighters to regularly rotate firehouses.
Current Mayor Michael Nutter, who has not been a friend to Local 22, was not eligible to run for re-election due to term limits.
“No one was quick to announce their candidacy, but as soon as Kenney announced, we knew he was our guy,” says Local 22 Public Relations Director Sean Sullivan. Other candidates included former District Attorney Lynne Abraham, former Judge Nelson Diaz, former Philadelphia Gas Works Executive Doug Oliver and former state Senator Milton Street.
The Local 22 campaign strategy was multifaceted, including educating the membership about the importance of supporting Kenney.
“Many of our members registered as Democrats just so they could vote for him. It was that important,” says Local 22 Political Director Jack Eltman. “And it wasn’t just us. All of the unions – public and private sector – supported him.”
To get its message to the citizen voter, Local 22 used every avenue possible, from billboards to social media. Kenney won with 62 percent of the vote. He will face Republican Melissa Murray Baily in the November general election, but Philadelphia has not elected a Republican mayor since 1948.