Politics & Government

Allan Domb and Rebecca Rhynhart interview for Philadelphia’s top job

todayFebruary 8, 2023 1

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By Ashanti Martin | WURD Radio

Mayoral candidates Rebecca Rhynhart and Allan Domb (Credit: Ethan Young / Philadelphia Citizen)

Tackling the violence in the city is the top priority for two candidates for mayor of Philadelphia who answered questions Tuesday evening as part of a “hiring panel.”  Both Rebecca Rhynhart and Allan Domb said they would declare an emergency to deal with the city’s gun violence crisis.

The pair of candidates were part of The Philadelphia Citizen’s “Ultimate Job Interview” series. The Feb. 7 event was the third time that candidates vying for the Philadelphia mayor’s office – “CEO of the $6 billion corporation that is the city of Philadelphia,” as Citizen publisher Larry Platt put it – faced a “hiring panel” of business leaders and executive job search experts. The event was broadcast live on WURD Radio, with commentary and analysis provided by “Reality Check” host Charles Ellison.

The room at The Fitler Club was standing room only following the headline-making forum one week earlier, where former Philadelphia mayor Michael Nutter grilled candidate and grocer Jeff Brown on the basics of city government. 

In addition to gun violence, both candidates said that cleaner streets, better schools, and more jobs are among their top priorities. 

Rhynhart faced questions about her demeanor, with former mayor Michael Nutter asking “Is Rebecca Rhynhart tough enough?”

“Of course I’m tough enough,” she said. “I have, as city controller, shown courage to stand up to the status quo when others haven’t.”

Domb, a former council member-at-large, responded to questions about how he would handle his real estate development business and potential conflicts of interest as mayor. Domb said he will step away from the business and is working on an ethics plan that he called a “firewall” between himself and his financial interests. “I won’t walk away until Jan. 1, 2024, and my son is also going to get involved,” Domb said.

Domb and Rhynhart faced questions about their approaches to leadership and management. Rhynhart said she attracts high-performers through “sheer enthusiasm” and because people want to work for a “change agent.” Domb said that while he excels financially, his political skills could stand to improve.

They each weighed in on several key issues of importance to Philadelphians:

Crime: Rhynhart told the panel that she would declare a crime emergency on her first day in office and open an emergency operations center to coordinate the response to gun violence, which would include targeted behavioral health and trauma treatment. Domb said he would declare a public health emergency specific to Kensington, and convene a public safety cabinet made up of local, school, state, and federal law enforcement agencies.

Business and taxes: Cutting red tape and treating companies like partners would inform Rhynhart’s approach. “We need to look at the tax structure to make sure we are competitive,” she said. Domb said he would consider ways to revive shuttered business corridors throughout the city.

Education: Domb would push the Shapiro administration for increased school funding, she said, saying that she would appoint a school board that shares her vision for education. Domb outlined a plan to introduce K-12 coursework in financial literacy, entrepreneurship, and technology, as well as a program wherein high school students would attend class four days a week and attend an internship on the fifth day.

The next “Ultimate Job Interview” featuring Helen Gym and Cherrelle Parker will take place on Feb. 21 and broadcast live on WURD Radio from 6 to 8:30 p.m.

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This article is a part of Every Voice, Every Vote, a collaborative project managed by The Lenfest Institute for Journalism. Lead support is provided by the William Penn Foundation with additional funding from The Lenfest Institute, Peter and Judy Leone, the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, Harriet and Larry Weiss, and the Wyncote Foundation, among others. To learn more about the project and view a full list of supporters, visit www.everyvoice-everyvote.org. Editorial content is created independently of the project’s donors.

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Written by: Ashanti Martin

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