Route Fifty at SXSW: Our Interview With Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney

Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney in Austin.

Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney in Austin. Route Fifty Staff

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“Our growth—our business growth, our population growth, our economic growth—is rooted firmly in our immigrant population,” the mayor said in an interview.

This is the ninth in a series of Route Fifty video interviews with mayors who are in Austin, Texas, for SXSW. Previously, San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo , West Sacramento Mayor Christopher Cabaldon , Denver Mayor Michael Hancock , Rochester Hills Mayor Bryan Barnett , Long Beach Mayor Robert Garcia , District of Columbia Mayor Muriel Bowser , Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer and Albuquerque Mayor Richard Berry .

Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney has long been a champion for his city, so it made sense that at SXSW in Austin, he was promoting all the great attributes of his city—its burgeoning tech scene, great arts and culture, major medical and academic institutions and lower cost of living compared to its regional neighbors, including Boston, New York and Washington, D.C.

“We have a lot to offer in Philadelphia,” Kenney told Route Fifty in a interview at SXSW, which included the mayor discussing the city’s efforts to improve education and challenges coming from the Trump administration.

Kenney, a firm supporter of “sanctuary city” policies to protect immigrants, told Route Fifty that city hall stands with all newcomers to Philly, regardless of their immigration status. “We aren’t going to be throwing our immigrant sisters and brothers under the bus,” Kenney said.

Economically, there’s a lot on the line in current the immigration debate, the mayor said. “Our growth—our business growth, our population growth, our economic growth—is rooted firmly in our immigrant population. In America and Philadelphia, it’s always been that case.”

Mitch Herckis is Senior Program Director at Government Executive’s Route Fifty and is based in Washington, D.C.

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