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Cherelle Parker likely to become Philly's first female mayor after November election


Cherelle Parker won the Democratic mayoral primary this week in Philadelphia. It's a Democratic Party stronghold, so she's expected to win the general election in November. And if she does, she'll become the first woman mayor to lead the city. I spoke with Cherelle Parker earlier about how crime is a major concern in Philadelphia. The issue is also at the top of voters' minds across the country. But I started off by asking her about her primary win.

CHERELLE PARKER: I really want to thank the people of our great city, the people power coalition that we put together, quite frankly, that transcended race, class, gender, religion in every portion of the city, and particularly those people whose lives are feeling the most pain in our city. Those are the people whose voices were heard loud and clear.

MARTÍNEZ: And one of the things, Cherelle, that I do for a living is listen to people's voices as you have listened to people's voices as well. I hear in your voice someone that's very, very tired. How much has this taken out of you, at least for now?

PARKER: Well, I'm actually much stronger now, believe it or not, than I was a couple of days ago. I was dealing with some dental issues. And you're right, my voice is a tad bit strained because we worked until 8 o' clock on Tuesday night doing our best to reach people in every corner in our city. Our message regarding a safer, cleaner and greener city that will provide access to economic opportunity for all - it resonated.

MARTÍNEZ: Now you've gone against the more progressive wing of your party by pledging to hire hundreds of police officers and bringing back so-called constitutional stop and frisk. What would you like progressives who backed someone else in the primary to know about you? What would you like to say to them?

PARKER: I would like them to know that, unlike others, my real-life lived experience is closest to the people feeling the most pain in our city. I am the mother, a single working mom to a 10-year-old Black boy, and never will I allow our great city to turn back the hands of time and think that our law enforcement officers, our police are able to misuse and abuse their power by inflicting pain amongst Black and brown people just because they're Black and brown. Law enforcement has to - they must know that a crime is taking place, will take place or is currently in action. Those things have to be present. There has to be just cause and reasonable suspicion.

MARTÍNEZ: Cherelle, if you do wind up winning in the general election in November, you become the city's first woman mayor. What would that mean to you, and what do you hope to accomplish if elected to maybe carve a new path or a different path from your predecessors?

PARKER: A, what my hope is, if I do win, is that it will lay a concrete path for other women from all walks of life - Black girls, brown girls, white girls, girls and boys, to be quite frank.

MARTÍNEZ: That's Cherelle Parker, Philadelphia's Democratic mayoral candidate.

Cherelle, thank you very much.

PARKER: Thank you so much for having me, A. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.