Philadelphia's Mayor race: Amen Brown launches run for mayor
WEST PHILADELPHIA - Philadelphia will decide its next mayor in 2023. A new candidate is throwing his hat into an already crowded field of candidates.
Amen Brown is a 35-year-old father of two children serving his first term in the Pennsylvania State House representing sections of West Philadelphia. He says his tough upbringing makes him ready for the city’s top job.
"I was shot in the back at the age of 14. I went many sleepless nights freezing at home, growing up because we didn’t have heat," Brown stated.
"How does a difficult upbringing make you ready to lead the City of Philadelphia," asked FOX 29’s Jeff Cole. "Doesn’t it take more than that?"
"It does, but it’s a key component. When you are relatable to the people who need government most in our city, that makes you ready," Brown replied.
Brown becomes the first state representative to enter the crowded field of candidates, which include a former judge, the owner of grocery stores, the former City Controller and veteran members of City Council who’ve resigned to run.
"We got some people, folks on council, who have been there for years. Nothing has changed," Brown said.
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Brown claims he represents an "innovative, fresh approach" to city government, but struggled when asked about Philadelphia’s budget.
"How big is the budget in the city of Philadelphia, what’s the number," Cole asked.
Brown answered, "It’s about $15 billion."
"$5.6 billion," Cole stated.
"$5.6?," Brown asked.
"City budget, it’s about $5.6 billion," Cole said.
"City budget is that low? Okay, maybe six. Can you ask that over," Brown asked.
Mayor Kenney proposed a budget of $5.6 billion. City council passed $5.8 billion in spending. Brown says he misread information given him on spending and argues he’s ready to be mayor.
"The size of the city budget, isn’t that important? Aren’t these things you should know?" Cole asked.
"Yes, I should know and the team I’m going to have around me will make sure I’m brought up to speed on things," Brown answered.
Brown says "…the citizens of Philadelphia are not safe" and he’ll focus on battling crime. He says, if elected, he’ll take a close look at the work of Police Commissioner Danielle Outlaw, but says District Attorney Larry Krasner must go.
"We need change in several row offices in our city," Brown commented.
"Does that include him [Krasner]," Cole asked.
Brown answered, "Yes."
"So, you think he should be removed from office," Cole followed up.
"I think he’s in over his head. We need some change," was Brown’s answer.
Brown says he’s pulled $50 million in state aid into his district, which is being used for public safety, job creation and to fight hunger.
He says he’ll work with anyone to improve Philadelphia. "I see problems in the community and I figure out ways to solve them. I’m action driven. I choose my people over party."
In response to the interview Friday with Jeff Cole and a question posed to Amen Brown about Philadelphia’s budget, Brown said his answer, "Quickly made its rounds, with many calling into question my intellect and ability to run this city."
In a statement, Brown said:
"During this interview, I was questioned about the city’s budget and I stated that it was $15 billion and will admit that I was a bit thrown off and didn’t respond well at all.
In my time as a State Representative and being a part of budget hearings and talks, we dig deep into the breakdown of city operations.
The city of Philadelphia sees and spends significantly more than the $5.8 billion budget that was approved."