Bailey, Kenney Go Head to Head at TPAC

FullSizeRenderTemple’s Performing Arts Center was the main stage for a third round of debates between mayoral candidates Melissa Murray Bailey (R) and John Kenney (D).

Monday night’s hour-long event centered around the city’s economic status, and how each candidate proposed to solve the deficit facing the City of Brotherly Love. Each candidate had 90 seconds to respond to the questions, and then the chance for rebuttal.

The opening question of the night focused on the current administration’s strengths and weaknesses. Kenney claimed that Mayor Michael Nutter’s greatest weakness was the lack of communication between his office and the city council, of which Kenney is a former member. He credited Nutter, however, with maintaining an economy in such a rocky time. Bailey applauded Mayor Nutter with raising the graduation rate from 50% to 65% by working with the school systems, but claimed that the mayor’s office lacked transparency, and that the lack of public involvement had people feeling left out.

Throughout the night, Bailey referenced her global experience, and said she would like to attract West Coast and international companies to put headquarters in Philadelphia. When asked how she would brand Philadelphia, Bailey replied that she would be most interested in companies who hire entry level talent. “We have top talent right here in Philadelphia.” Kenny, on the other hand, plans to cultivate talent currently in Philadelphia by providing training for nonviolent prisoners being released back into society, saying they deserve a second chance.

Another hot topic of the evening was the Comcast franchise renewal agreements that have yet to be finalized. Mrs. Bailey focused on the jobs that Comcast could bring to Philadelphia, which she estimated around 2,500. She also mentioned that the company has a program in Florida, that is slowly coming to Philadelphia. Mr. Kenney spoke of the need for internet access all over the city for everyone and brought it up again in his closing remarks, saying he will make sure Comcast is committed to having access for every zip code across the city. “My zip code, your zip code, should not determine your future, your potential.”

Temple Update got a chance to speak with both Bailey and Kenney after the event, and both had a great deal to say about issues important to Temple students.

“We need to be smart about crime. We need to make sure we have the right coverage, the right number of people on the street. That we are looking at crime trends and mapping where crime is taking place and putting our folks in places to make arrests or to keep crime from happening in the first place. But it’s having a good police commissioner, having good police command, enough troops and officers trained, and working closely with communities and improving our neighborhood police scene,” said Kenney on improving public safety, a serious concern for Temple students in recent weeks.

“Modernization is happening, and if we want to preserve jobs while the modernization is happening, we need people who are doing things who are part of that. We need to direct our students to areas where there are going to be future jobs for them. I don’t want anybody to come out of college and be saddled with debt to find that the place they thought they were going to go is no longer part of the economy. And so we need to do a better job as a city and even as a country talking to colleges about our future economy,” Bailey commented, after being asked about how modernization would effect students who will be graduating in the coming years.

If you missed Monday night’s debate, there is still one more chance to hear from the candidates before election day. A televised debate will be aired on 6abc October 25 at 11am. Election day is November 3.

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