Voters have elected a woman to lead Philadelphia, as Democrat Cheri Cherelle Parker was inaugurated as the 100th mayor of the state’s largest city.
Parker, who becomes Philadelphia’s first female mayor after taking the oath of office, defeated Republican David Oh by nearly 50% of the vote.
She will replace 51-year-old Democrat Jim Kenney, who served two terms.
To the tune of “Ladies First,” emotional Parker took the stage and addressed her supporters at her election night watch party, reiterating her campaign promises of addressing crime, education, jobs, and poverty, and working with the Pennsylvania legislature and city council to move Philadelphia forward.
“Cherelle Parker, who’s going to be? Philly Completer. She will be a successful mayor who will never forget her deep roots,” she said. “I was born in Philly, I was raised in Philly, and until I draw my last breath, I will remain a Philadelphian.”
After serving as a state representative for North Philadelphia for 10 years, Parker presented herself as a leader with the government experience that will allow her to tackle the city’s growing problems in the campaign, before running for City Council in 2015.
Parker’s inclusive message resonated with voters who are concerned about a range of quality-of-life issues, from public safety to faulty streetlights and trash collection. She also promised a well-trained police force that would be connected to the community with support for mental health and behavioral issues.
Supporters at the watch party celebrated with hugs, including 57-year-old Carolyn Mosley, who said her main concerns in the election were crime and taxes.
Earlier this year, after meeting with Parker at a church event, she was “100% sold,” she said: “I believe that she can make an effective change in Philadelphia.”
“Her story reminds me of my own,” said Mosley, who is also a woman of color. “And I can see that young girls can emulate her.”