International Women's Day

Today is International Women's day where we recognize the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women across the globe. The power and strength of women coming together is unmatched, but our march towards gender equality is not over.

There is a serious lack of women in office across our country and particularly in Pennsylvania. Our commonwealth is ranked 40th in the nation for female representation in government. We need to do better, and that is why I am counting on your support in my race for City Controller.

Yesterday was a major milestone for my campaign. It was filing day at the County Board of Elections office, and I got to submit thousands of signatures from voters across the city who are supporting my run to be the first female City Controller of Philadelphia.

Filing my nomination petitions was the first step in getting my name on the ballot, but we still have so much left to do in the next 68 days.

To get involved with my campaign, go to: www.RebeccaforPhiladelphia.com

Why Being a Sanctuary City Makes Sense

On January 25, President Trump released an executive order to strip applicable federal funds from Fourth Amendment cities--better known as sanctuary cities--as well as bar these cities from applying for most federal grants.

Mayor Jim Kenney has reaffirmed that Philadelphia will remain a sanctuary city, stating that the city will avail itself of “every opportunity we have to protect our citizens and protect our people who are living in our city." I side with Mayor Kenney: to rescind our sanctuary city status would ultimately harm our citizens.

A sanctuary city is a city that has adopted a policy of protecting illegal immigrants by not prosecuting them for violating federal immigration laws. This country was built on the backs of immigrants. Today, Philadelphia is six percent foreign-born, which means that most of us have a coworker, a friend, a neighbor, or even a family member who wasn’t born in the United States.

We interact with people from other countries everyday, on public transit, at the supermarket, at the gym, at our children’s schools for those of us who have children. And we experience the new ideas they bring, in restaurants and venues around the city.

Each and every one of us chose to either stay here, or come here in the first place. We are united in our dedication to the American--and in this case, Philadelphian--way of life.

Trump’s new order is meant to address our criminal justice system. Proponents of Trump’s executive order argue that the new policy will cut down on crime. However, immigration and violent crime are statistically unrelated.

If anything, newer research indicates that immigration might actually be decreasing the national crime rate. Additionally, in a number of cases, the risk of deportation is enough to dissuade undocumented immigrants from reporting crimes that are committed against them or that they themselves witnessed.

In Philadelphia, like every other city and town across America, if someone is arrested for a misdemeanor like disorderly conduct, the person will be sent to county jail where their fingerprints will be taken and sent to the FBI. The FBI will then send the inmate’s prints to Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

Once ICE receives the prints, it’s up to the city/county to give ICE a warrant to hold the inmate in jail in order to start the deportation process. As a sanctuary city, Philadelphia rejects these requests from ICE for any inmate who commits a misdemeanor.

Here’s where this issue starts to become pertinent to our local economy and budget. Philadelphia could potentially lose millions of dollars of federal funding because of its stance as a sanctuary city. While these cuts, if they take place, could be damaging, the city needs to stand up for its residents.

Economically, immigration benefits the city. In fact, every year it pumps $4.7 billion into the American economy through the labor market. And despite popular belief, immigrants don’t “steal jobs” from Americans. In fact, “high-skill” immigrants have an especially positive impact on the economy as they spur innovation, helping to create jobs.

We are the City of Brotherly Love, so we will stand by our neighbors, regardless of immigration status, and we will fight and adapt if necessary.

Why I March

It’s been more than two months since Donald Trump won the presidential election, and one month since the Electoral College made it official. And yet, many of us are still struggling to come to terms with the fact that our president doesn’t represent the American values we grew up with. I know I am.

We were supposed to celebrate a milestone this inauguration. We were supposed to hold parties. It’s chilling that instead we’ll be taking to the streets in large-scale, peaceful day-long protests.

This Saturday, I plan to march with thousands of people in Philadelphia and around the country who, like me, are deeply concerned about the incoming administration. We march because we believe that love is love, that black lives matter, that women’s rights are human rights, and that no human is illegal. We march in part because we need to remind the community--and ourselves--that although Trump has expressed hate towards these groups, we will still be safe because we will come together.

To me, the march means more than just showing the new administration that we are a unified front. I think there was one positive result of Trump winning: he made people like me angry enough to organize and do more for our cities and for this country. His win was the last straw that made me decide to run for public office.

For years, I’ve been wanting to do more. Almost ten years ago, I left the lucrative investment banking world to work for the City of Philadelphia because I wanted to make a positive difference in the community. Not everyone understood why I would take a pay cut at the peak of my career to work for the government.

I’ve never regretted making the switch. Much of my family, including my six year old daughter Julia, live in Philadelphia. I have a personal stake in this little pocket of America because it’s my world. I knew it was the best way I could make a positive impact in the city I love. Now more than ever, I’m grateful to have had this opportunity.

Marching on Saturday, and the decision to dedicate my life to politics and creating a better Philadelphia, are two sides of the same coin.

For the next four years, most of our progress will not be coming top-down from the federal government. It’ll be coming from cities, like our own, that choose to say “no” to hate despite the consequences. I am so proud that Philadelphia in particular is taking steps like reaffirming its place as a sanctuary city and re-committing to fighting climate change despite the resurgence of lawmakers calling it a “hoax.”

The fight for inclusivity, in the end, will come from the cities. And we’ll need strong leaders to withstand the pushback. I’m ready to take on the challenge.

And so are you, and everyone marching in the Women’s March. Because when we march, we’re not just saying that we’re angry. We’re saying that we’re not afraid, that love is stronger, that we value diversity and kindness. Most of all, we’re saying that we know a march is not just a march, that it’s the kickoff of a hopefully lifetime commitment to protecting each other. This is us saying that we’ll vote, that we’ll volunteer, and that we’ll stand by each other in ways big and small.

This will be our unconventional acknowledgment of the inauguration.

I’m running for Philadelphia controller because I plan to uphold these very American values for the rest of my life. Won’t you join me?