Cherelle Parker, one of multiple candidates that discussed Philadelphia waste issues as part of her environmental platform, won the city’s Democratic mayoral primary on Tuesday.
Waste was one of the issues that saw frequent discussion during the competitive primary due to concerns about street cleanliness and stalled progress on recycling. Mayor Jim Kenney disbanded the city’s Zero Waste and Litter Cabinet in 2020 amid pandemic budget cuts and experienced issues with recycling not being collected properly.
A coalition of environmental groups known as Waste Free Philly, which included the city’s former zero waste and litter director among many others, asked candidates to support a wide-ranging agenda that aimed to “achieve zero waste by 2035.” While Parker was not on the record as a direct supporter of that agenda, she previously pledged to “restore the Zero Waste and Litter Cabinet, and give it the funding and resources it actually needs to be effective.”
Parker’s campaign website also touts her work as a former city council member to create a group called PHL Taking Care of Business that used city funds to pay community members for cleaning streets and sidewalks “at a decent wage, while teaching them soft skills like resume writing and basic employee training.” If elected, Parker has committed to scale that concept “to reach every corner of the city.”
Philadelphia’s mayoral election is Nov. 7. Given the city’s Democratic electoral history, AP said that Parker’s primary victory “likely [sets] her up as the city’s 100th mayor and the first woman to serve in the role.”