Philadelphia ushered in a new era on Tuesday, electing its first female mayor, Cherelle Parker, who vowed to employ strong law enforcement measures, including calling on the National Guard, to tackle the city’s rampant open-air drug markets.
During a town hall in recent weeks, Parker responded to a resident’s plea to clean up Kensington, the nerve center of the nation’s opioid crisis, home to a vast population of drug addicts and notorious for its open-air drug market, Fox News reported.
“Will I call on them to help us, for example, shut down the open-air drug market in Kensington that’s being allowed to prevail?” Parker echoed the constituent’s question, affirming unequivocally that the National Guard will be instrumental to her strategy.
In conversation with the Philadelphia Inquirer, Parker laid out her plan to implement a robust intergovernmental approach to orchesterate the clean up of Kensington and put an end to the open-air drug market, an area where addicts openly inject substances and frequently collapse on sidewalks or streets. It’s a locale sought after by users for fentanyl and xylazine, an inexpensive but lethal veterinary tranquilizer found in over 90% of drug samples examined in Philadelphia, based on 2021 city data.
Parker, who previously served on the city’s council and in the Pennsylvania House of Representatives, will be Philadelphia’s 100th mayor and its first female mayor. Democrats have controlled the mayor’s seat in Philadelphia since 1952. This means that they have held the position for 71 years.
Parker pledges to transform Philadelphia into the “safest, cleanest, greenest” metropolis in the U.S.
“I’m uniquely prepared to make the city the safest, cleanest, greenest big city in the nation with access to economic opportunity for all,” Parker said. “I communicated to the people that if they gave me the opportunity, I wouldn’t be afraid to make those tough decisions, to implement that vision I share with them and that I would remain my authentic self.”